Revolution #518, November 20, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

Revolution #518 November 20, 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/516/how-to-download-new-film-by-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Download and share the new film by Bob Avakian…
Here’s how:

November 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To DOWNLOAD the Full Speech, Trailer, Q&A or Clips from the Vimeo page (HERE):

  1. Look for a number at the bottom right of each video that starts with “#vimeo.com/”. For the video you want to download, click on that number.
  2. On the new page that opens, below the video on the right is a button “Download”. Click that button.
  3. A menu will pop up. Click on your choice of size of file to download.

4. Repeat this process for each file (Full Speech, Trailer, Clips, Q&A) that you want to download from the Vimeo page (HERE).

 

To SHARE the Full Speech, Trailer, Q&A or Clips from the Vimeo page (HERE):

  1. For each video (Full Speech, Trailer, etc.) that you want to share, click on the “Share” button—the little paper airplane near the upper right corner.
  2. The Pop-Up Menu will give you many choices for how to share.

Share widely!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/november-18-protests-around-the-country-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

November 18 Protests Around the Country:
Breaking the Silence and Bringing the Noise to Say: “This Nightmare Must End!
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Saturday, November 18, people in cities across the country answered the call from Refuse Fascism to “Break the Silence! Bring the Noise!” With rallies and marches, they brought out the message: This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

As the call for the day said:

RefuseFascism.org is calling on everyone who can be united to sound the alarm and break the silence. What is the silence we are breaking? The silence of normalization and accommodation, of people going along with their lives as Trump escalates war threats, as immigrants are detained and deported, as everyday fascism is advanced.

What is the noise we are bringing? We’ll be waking up and calling forward all those who burn with outrage at this regime but don’t yet know of this movement. We will march to a beat with a determination that this regime will not destroy humanity and the planet. Pots and pans, drums and buckets, whistles and our voices.

On this page are photos and video clips from November 18, giving a picture of some of what happened that day. Stay tuned this week for more in-depth coverage of November 18 actions.

Boston: A Day of Bringing the Noise Against Fascism and White Supremacy

From a reader:

On November 18, 30 activists rallied at Copley Square as part of actions taking place around the country to “Break the Silence! Bring the Noise! This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” They heard speakers from Refuse Fascism; Academics Against Fascism; and others, including Carl Dix, an initiator of Refuse Fascism and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Joel Feingold from Refuse Fascism; and a statement from the Reverend Rob Mark of the Church of the Covenant. Dozens of passersby stopped and a number signed up with Refuse Fascism on the spot. Afterwards the rally was led in a boisterous march through downtown Boston by a contingent of the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians accompanied by homemade drums, cowbells, and whistles.

Chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” the march joined with a rally at the Boston Commons called by Fight Supremacy 2.0. This rally of 1,000 people was countering a white supremacist, neo-fascist “Rally for the Republic” called by Resist Marxism that drew 40-50 people with massive protection by hundreds of police. The fascists have tried various tactics after Charlottesville to re-brand themselves—as a free speech movement, as against Marxism, and claiming that they are not white supremacists—but fascist groups that are openly so came in from around the country to make a showing, as they have in liberal cities like Berkeley and Boston. People were not bamboozled and came out in strength to expose and firmly oppose them.

A very diverse turnout of mostly young people, including students from area colleges, made up the bulk of the very defiant crowd at this counter-protest. MCs from the Black Lives Matter movement led people to chant and bring on the motherfucking noise that drowned out the fascists’ sound system. People heard from speakers who urged them to come out in opposition to white supremacist attacks in Boston and elsewhere. Bands of white supremacists roamed through the crowd of protesters looking to provoke, and the scene was marked by the revulsion and defiance of those who came out to overwhelm them, and disciplined monitoring by Veterans for Peace, anti-fa and others.

Carl Dix was invited by Fight Supremacy 2.0 onto the makeshift stage, a park bench, and he drew a rousing response when he called out those at the Rally for the Republic as shock troops being unleashed by the Trump/Pence regime to hammer fascist rule into place in this country. And again when he called on the young people at the counter-protest to bring their spirit of defiance into the movement to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power, before it’s too late. People at the rally grabbed up flyers being distributed by those who marched in the Refuse Fascism contingent and got connected with the movement to drive the Trump/Pence regime from office.

The day as a whole met a test that Boston will not tire and will not allow these fascists to take hold of the public square—and of people broadly uniting and putting petty sectarian agendas aside to accomplish this.

New York City

Refuse Fascism started the day in Washington Square Park. The entire time people were chanting and banging on pots and pans creating a ruckus that broke the silence. About half the crowd was young people. People from different parts of the country that happened to be in NYC were attracted by the energy of the march and the message of breaking the silence of normalization. Two high school students from Las Vegas that we met in the park, and their family, joined the march and carried the banner for most of the march. They were inspired by the high school student walkout in LA and were excited about organizing some things in their school. A student from Albany came all the way just to join the march. He came despite the fact that his friends didn’t.

Among those who joined in were a young Australian dancer who was VERY energized and a young college student from out of town, who marched with us all the way to the New York Times. Throughout the march, we chanted, “March with us, march with us, march with us, cuz Trump and Pence must go!” The Times Square area along 42nd Street was very congested with tourists and Black people from NYC. Many gave a thumbs up or the fist and took copies of the Refuse Fascism call, “This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

A high point of the march was at the end. We marched to the New York Times offices to deliver a letter requesting that they cover the Refuse Fascism protests that they have consistently whited out. Instead of taking the letter, they called the police that had been with the march the entire time to come inside. Afterwards, JW Walker of the Steering Committee of Refuse Fascism-NYC spoke to the crowd outside about why we were there to request they cover the Refuse Fascism protests: “We are living in a time where Trump threatens the future of humanity.”

Chicago

People gathered making lots of raucous and wonderful noise with drums, buckets, pots and pans, bells, and a variety of handheld instruments. “Break the Silence! Bring the Noise!” rang out in a cacophony of sound, all this in the midst of a wind, rain, and temperatures dipping into the 30s. The crowd seemed unfazed by the weather as they defiantly jumped and danced in the deep puddles on the plaza of the State of Illinois Building (the Thompson Center) in downtown Chicago.

Among them were a high school student, a young woman in her 20s, a Native American LGBTQ activist, blues harmonica player Matthew Skoller, another Refuse Fascism activist, and a member of the Revolution Club. As we marched through the Loop, our numbers began to grow. People who came late joined us, as did many people from the downtown streets, especially young people. Bystanders clapped and cheered and filmed as we passed. At intersections the march would stop and people were called to join in.

A suburban high school teacher came with several students. Three young Latinos who had been at the march on November 11 returned this week. One had gotten a copy of Revolution newspaper last week and asked if she could volunteer with the paper and is now doing that. Three Latino high school students, with joyous looks on their faces, joined as we approached Trump Tower. When someone asked if one of them wanted a sign, she responded YES!, took it, and started jumping up and down with it. When asked why they joined one responded, “Because we feel like Trump should be gone.” Another said, “I joined because we need to protest for our rights.”

A Columbia College student said, “I am tired of the way things are going and this is the best way to do it now. You know we can’t let fascism take over America. I had been normalized, you know what I mean, but now I am waking up.” Students from suburban Elmhurst College joined the march—several belonged to the Queer Straight Alliance. A young woman scientist said she got involved with Refuse Fascism through social media and the internet. She said she had gone to the Women’s March and Science March and, “I just felt like I had to make a presence and Refuse Fascism is one of the most consistent and persistent of these organizations.”

We wound up at the entrance to the Trump hotel. A short final rally was held there. At that rally jazz drummer and composer Ted Sirota said, “Everybody, you have an assignment. You joined the march, you gotta take a task, whether it is getting out flyers, mobilizing at your school, spreading on social media, we have a specific role for you to play. Everybody and their little brother and sister and their grandmother and cousins, when you go home for Thanksgiving, talk to your family, speak the truth to them, don’t back down. We know what the truth is and they are attacking it every day. We are going to stand with objective truth and we are going to fight for the future of humanity.”

Los Angeles

People rallied and then marched through the streets, bringing the noise that the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! People came with their own noisemakers—pots, pans, drums, kazoos, a trumpet, and more. Speakers at the rally included Luna and Erica from the Refuse Fascism Student Network who gave a shout-out to the Mendez High School students who have walked out twice in their attempt to get rid of the Trump/Pence regime.

Brooke from Indivisible spoke about going on a road trip to Washington, DC, with Refuse Fascism and fighting to end this fascist regime. Magician Mueller and Madame Metoo took to the stage saying, “No more misogyny,” and telling people that the way to make Trump disappear was to “hit the streets.” Bo, an Iraq war vet, spoke for Refuse Fascism. Powerful music was provided by the band Hero Injection. People on the sidewalk were called on to join the march, which several UCLA students did as they were making their way to the LA Coliseum for their rivalry football game against USC. After the march, people took over the street at Pershing Square, where the rally was held for a block party with music and dancing.

San Francisco

People rallied in front of City Hall and then marched through the Castro and Mission districts to Dolores Park. The crowd included students from Cal State, San Luis Obispo, an SF high school drum group, families with their kids in strollers, educators, activists, and revolutionaries. The mood was serious about the urgent need to drive out the regime and enthusiastic about making noise and music. A large, loud sound system helped unleash the spirited rally and march.

Refuse Fascism speakers at the start challenged everyone to step forward to build this movement, and led the crowd to chant, whistle and break the silence! This regime must be driven from power, and we have to bring forward the millions to do it. One RF speaker drew a powerful parallel between the movement that’s needed today and the civil rights movement and movement to end the war in Vietnam. People put their lives on hold and on the line to change the world. And that is what we must do now.

In addition to speakers from Refuse Fascism, an immigrant from the Mission organization La Colectiva de Mujeres spoke, along with another activist from the Mission. A representative from SF Indivisible said, “We have a moral imperative to stand up now and say that this man must be impeached. We can’t just stand by and let him trample the Constitution and the rule of law.” He also read a poem about impeachment. A San Francisco State student who also works with Human Rights Campaign in the Castro told of how the LGBTQ community is fearful: “I can’t express how important this is for our community in particular, to get the Trump administration out of the White House so we don’t have to fear any more or as much.”

And an older man with his homemade sign describing fascism passionately put his thinking this way: “We can’t let the people in Washington do to the Muslims what the Germans did to my people 85 years ago. If we don’t get the word out there, it’s going to be too late.”

The group of students from San Luis Obispo came with their own banner—“No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” One of them said he was there because “we’re at over 12 months since Trump was elected and there’s a sense of complicity arising among some people and a community of resistance is growing among others.... The media is the ultimate in complicity. The people’s complicity is regulated by the media. The Democrats are not the solution. They are just as quiet on so many things. And before Trump they were just as quiet on so many things. We need to be strategic to use the Democratic Party to create the world we want to see but really recognizing the limitations of it. We’re here to resist the Trump/Pence regime, to refuse fascism, standing up to the Trump/Pence regime, against fascism.” He spoke of how important Refuse Fascism is and how it must grow.

The march took off from City Hall and made its way through the streets to the Mission District. Along the way, many people took up flyers, some joined the march and signed up with Refuse Fascism. Some contributed money on the spot. In the Mission District, the march made it to Dolores Park, packed with people picnicking and socializing. The march went inside the park, chanting and bringing the message of Refuse Fascism to many hundreds of new people right there. The march ended with a short rally in the middle of the park, where a Pence piñata was destroyed by kids.

Austin, Texas

People rallied in front of the Texas state capitol, banging pots and pans, demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must go. Several people who had come out on November 4 came, as well as a couple of students from the University of Texas, Austin. One of them said that she came because she saw the posters up on campus. A number of flyers got out to passersby and tourists. At the capitol, seven zombie reactionaries from Infowars disrupted the rally and provoked confrontations with protesters and one protester was unjustly arrested. Refuse Fascism regrouped, focused on our message and marched towards UT Austin. Infowars seemed to give up trying to provoke us and left. As we marched up the streets, people were mainly positive—cars honking in support, and a few people joining in on the call and response. Outside UT Austin, among our chants was, “If you hate Trump, if you hate Pence, get your ass up off the fence! Join us, join us, join us, NOW!”

Philadelphia

People gathered in Thomas Paine Plaza with a banner reading “Drive out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime—RefuseFascism.org,” and with bucket drums, a cowbell, corrugated metal trashcan lids, whistles, dozens of helium balloons with NO! written on them, and other little noisemakers.

Folks spoke from the megaphone. Two spoke very poignantly about the threat of nuclear war and the wars that are being waged, and one spoke mainly to the need for people to start taking action. After initially planning to march on the sidewalk, we took the streets and partially circled City Hall, then went up 15th street and turned onto Walnut, one of the busiest and poshest shopping areas in Philadelphia. Drumming and chanting and stopping to agitate the crowds outside the Apple store, outside a Taylor Girlz concert, and at busy intersections, inviting people to join us in the streets and leading people in taking the pledge. A lot of people joined us in the pledge—we did it three times and each time we had bystanders put their hands in the air and say it with us, while many more stopped and mumbled along under their breath or were silently supportive.

Seattle

People broke the silence and brought the noise, meeting for a rally at City Hall and marching through the downtown shopping core. One speaker was an elementary school teacher who found Refuse Fascism and felt compelled to speak out because five of her ESL students have fathers who were detained or deported in the last year. She said she felt helpless to stop it as an individual and led everyone in a primal scream of NO! at the end of her words. Another speaker, a Refuse Fascism organizer who is a longtime activist in many important causes and who is now dedicating time and resources to the overarching RF mission, ran down Umberto Eco’s 14 features of fascism and examples of each under this regime. Weldon Nisly, retired Mennonite minister and member of a Christian Peacemaker Team to Iraq and Palestine, spoke about how wars are truly a war on children and the power of nonviolent movements to effect change.

Marchers wore rainbow capes, wigs, and umbrella hats and created a cacophony of sound with pots and pans, wooden spoons, native drums, decorated buckets, sound horns, tambourines, and more. Four protesters carried a giant inflated Earth globe while a couple of others traded off wearing a big bobble-head Trump. We stopped at intersections to agitate, get out flyers and collect donations—and make as much noise as possible! New chants that developed on the spot or were brought by new organizers were: “Wake Up America/Get Out of Bed/Dump Donald Trump/Before We’re All Dead!” and “This is NOT Normal/Trump Must Go! This is NOT Normal/Pence Must Go!” The marchers took up the orientation and fought to grow the march as we went, but although there were people along the route who clapped, said thank you, and took photos and video, not one person stepped off the curb into the street. This beginning core of people who HAVE decided to actively oppose the Trump regime and the consolidation of fascism are trying to understand what is holding others back from taking that step.

There was a short speak-out after the march. A young man brought to the protest by his stepfather said that after the elections, his and other high schools were at first shocked and silent but then started walking out in protest. He said this needs to be happening every day now and that it’s a disgrace that things have gone on this long. A woman from Australia said the people of the world are depending on us, that even though there aren’t as many people as we need, we’re doing the right thing and need to continue.

Cleveland

In the cold and heavy rain, people broke the silence and brought out the noise with bucket drums and amplifier that was heard for blocks! We were active members of Refuse Fascism, a youth who got involved on November 4, a gay activist and college student, a woman who had first-hand experience with fascism in Germany.

A young Black man watching said to his two friends and us that he voted for Trump. He then said he was joking to try to get a rise out of us! They spoke with deep feeling on what Trump means for Black people and signed up. They took flyers and passed them out, and started chanting, “Fuck Trump, Fuck Trump!” then brought their chant and dance into the rally, uniting it with the rhythm on drum and buckets. With everyone dancing to the beats. Then we took the march into a downtown mall—drumming and shouting to let the shoppers know we will, and they must, break the silence of normalization and conciliation. We went in with a banner and lots of noise. Though we got kicked out by the police, the point was made that “This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and some people took note. A youth who signed up many people for Refuse Fascism today in the rain said, “I am excited about finally standing up. Other groups sit around and talk. Refuse Fascism is doing something.”

Honolulu

People in restaurants put down their forks; people in hotels came to their lanais, and people on the sidewalks stopped to take photos and leaflets. We were so loud that our chants and drumming echoed back to us from the walls of high-rises. All because some of us stepped into the streets to make some noise! The energy was contagious and a few onlookers even started their own chants. On Saturday night we proved that even a small number can make a real difference! Thousands heard us; many thanked us.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/something-close-to-genocide-says-mayor-of-san-juan-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

“Something Close to Genocide,” Says Mayor of San Juan:

Nightmare Continues for the People of Puerto Rico Under Trump/Pence’s Racist Policies

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The basic idea: Two months ago, a massive hurricane struck the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico. U.S. domination had already oppressed and impoverished the people of Puerto Rico. This hurricane made it much worse. Millions now have no electricity. Hundreds of thousands have no water, or no roof over their head, or both. People are hungry and many are breaking down. Yet the policies of the Trump/Pence regime make it worse. And Trump’s attempts to blame the people themselves are training white Americans to accept and cooperate in genocide. This must be OPPOSED!

A monstrous crime continues to be carried out by the Trump/Pence regime against the people of Puerto Rico—with no end in sight.

Two months ago, September 20, Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million people were struck by Hurricane Maria, the tenth most destructive Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Nearly all electrical power to the entire island was lost; homes everywhere were decimated; half of the people lost access to drinking water; roads across the island were blocked; and cell phone service was completely knocked out.

The hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida just before Maria struck Puerto Rico were also devastating. But Maria smashed into a U.S. colony already impoverished and made vulnerable by over a century of U.S. domination—including the massive $70 billion debt Puerto Rico owes to predatory financial institutions1 and impending government shutdown and infrastructure collapse.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Trump/Pence regime is—through deliberate policies of cruel neglect and racism—causing the Puerto Rican people to go through torture and slow death. This is threatening to impose long-term devastation on the island that could make it unlivable for hundreds of thousands of its people.

Millions today are living without electrical power, and hundreds of thousands without clean water. Because of Puerto Rico’s crushing financial debt, the infrastructure required for a society to function was already in perilous condition: its electrical grid, water purification and distribution, communications, transportation, food distribution, health care and housing. Two months after Hurricane Maria, less than half of Puerto Rico’s power grid is operating, leaving over 750,000 homes and businesses still in the dark. A week ago there was a failure of a main power line, leaving over 80 percent of the people without power until it could be restored. With 50,000 utility power poles and 6,500 miles of cable that have not even been brought to the island, this crisis affecting families and businesses in the most fundamental way is going to continue indefinitely.

The lack of power to water pumps continues to leave vast numbers of people without drinking water, forcing them to make long trips on foot to haul water from distribution points. Many people who are elderly or ill cannot do this on their own, leaving them with only polluted water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Waterborne diseases have already taken lives in the wake of the hurricane.

Hundreds of thousands of people have no roof over their heads. There are 250,000 damaged roofs in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, and people are being flooded again with each new rain storm. There is an extremely urgent, critical need for temporary tarpaulins to cover the damaged roofs in homes, but FEMA has only distributed about 42,000 tarps, a fraction of what is needed. Meanwhile people are forced to live in the most desperate conditions.

A Guardian reporter recently visited a town of 80,000, 30 minutes from the capital, San Juan, and found that every other house had no roof. The reporter talked to one elderly woman at her house, where the walls were caked with mud and the upstairs had no roof, making it completely open to the elements. She told the reporter, “I’m worried because I’m alone and when it rains all the water gets in.” She sleeps on an inflatable mattress in the corner of her kitchen, wearing her only set of usable clothes. Across the street, a man on dialysis is in the same situation.

An unprecedented mental health crisis. Mental health professionals report that much of the population in Puerto Rico is showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress. One doctor told the New York Times that in 20 years as a psychologist, he had never hospitalized as many people with suicidal or homicidal thoughts in such a short period of time. There are parents reporting that their children haven’t spoken since Hurricane Maria hit or cry uncontrollably every time it rains.

Denial of access to emergency food aid. While in Texas and Florida food aid came relatively quickly for most storm victims, not so in Puerto Rico. For 35 years, Congress has limited funds available for food help on Puerto Rico by replacing the food stamp program with a block grant, only giving a certain amount of money regardless of the level of need. Half the population of Puerto Rico was already living in poverty when Hurricane Maria hit—in the storm’s aftermath, there were no funds available for food programs, and Puerto Rico was denied any access to the disaster relief section of the food stamp program. While emergency food stamp funds have finally been granted, these funds have still not arrived, and the harm has already been done.

~~~~~~~~

The more than a century of U.S. domination has been a disaster and horror for the oppressed people of Puerto Rico. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America makes clear that the radically new, liberating society brought into being through revolution that overthrows the U.S. capitalist-imperialist system will end the deadly hold of the U.S. over Puerto Rico and recognize the independence and the right of self-determination of the nation of Puerto Rico.

With the rise of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and especially since Hurricane Maria, the U.S. domination of Puerto Rico has intensified in genocidal ways. From the very start, Trump has responded to this disaster with murderous disdain and contempt. Trump blamed the Puerto Rican people for the hell they are going through, saying, “They want everything to be done for them.” He said the island was “already a disaster,” and complained that aid costs would throw his budget “out of whack.” These attempts to blame the Puerto Rican people themselves for their oppression and suffering are training white Americans to accept and be complicit in the fascist regime’s criminal actions.

In response, the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, said, “If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying. And you are killing us with the inefficiency…  If we don’t get the food and water into people’s hands, you are going to see something close to a genocide [our emphasis]... the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of.”

The deliberately murderous actions against the Puerto Rican people reek of the open racism and ugly American chauvinism of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The very future of the Puerto Rican people is at risk.

 

 

1. One aspect of this is the 100-year-old Jones Act (or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) which allows only U.S. shipping companies to carry cargo between Puerto Rico and other U.S. ports. This has cost Puerto Rico nearly a billion dollars a year for the 30 years ending in 2010. Economists have analyzed that without the Jones Act, there would be no public debt in Puerto Rico. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/we-demand-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

WE DEMAND

November 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hurricane Maria triggered a crisis in Puerto Rico. Public health crises are cascading; mass impoverishment and loss of jobs are driving millions to desperation; much of the island's power grid, water purification and delivery system, hospitals, schools, housing, roads, bridges, and other elements of its infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. All this has been heightened immeasurably by the willful, racist neglect inflicted by the Trump/Pence regime. An epic natural disaster has been deliberately transformed into a catastrophe with genocidal implications. Circulate and discuss these demands among people on Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland; make them a focus of protest and struggle.

WE DEMAND

  1. The full resources of the U.S. government must be utilized immediately to provide and distribute, at government expense, all needed food and clothing to the people of the entire island. There must be continued and ongoing emergency and longer-term medical care, and measures provided to people to prevent massive epidemics and needless deaths as well as to treat post-traumatic stress disorders and other mental health problems. Special attention must be paid to ensure that aid is reaching the many remote areas of Puerto Rico.
  2. The U.S. government must immediately undertake a massive effort to restore reliable electrical power throughout Puerto Rico, without which the lives and well-being of millions are in daily jeopardy.
  3. Safe water must be available to everyone in ample quantities. There must be free communication for people to contact relatives, wherever they live. Under no circumstances must those who take resources necessary for survival be shot, arrested, or punished in any way. All basic needs must be provided FREE OF CHARGE.
  4. High priority must be given to providing everyone with safe and decent shelter—utilizing existing government and privately owned structures, or building new ones when necessary—until adequate housing for all can be built. Damaged homes must be rebuilt where possible. New housing in urban and rural areas must be constructed to maximize its ability to withstand future storms.
  5. The situation of the people and their views on the situation must be fully covered in the news, giving the people themselves access to the media and the chance to tell their own stories.
  6. People who want to leave Puerto Rico and go to the U.S. mainland must be provided with transportation costs by the U.S. government. Conversely, people on the mainland who want to go to the island to assist in its rebuilding or to assist their family members must be provided with transportation to Puerto Rico and housing while there.
  7.  There must be no profiteering and speculation off people’s misery by the sharks of energy companies, insurance companies, oil monopolies, real estate developers, etc.
  8. The Jones Act, a century-old law that requires U.S. ships to be used on all commercial shipments between U.S. ports and Puerto Rico and substantially raises the costs of virtually everything on the island, must be eliminated. Puerto Rico’s debt—the result of 120 years of ruthless exploitation of the people and enormous damage to the environment of this beautiful island by the United States—must be dismissed outright. The educational system, from elementary to university level, must be completely rebuilt. Decent jobs must be provided to all adults who want them.

These measures must be continued throughout the duration of this crisis.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/washington-dc-thousands-rally-for-puerto-rico-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Washington, D.C.: Thousands Rally for Puerto Rico

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

November 19—Thousands of people, overwhelmingly of Puerto Rican descent, marched from the U.S. Capitol Building to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in a Unity March for Puerto Rico. This was the first major outpouring against the contempt and neglect of the U.S. government towards the people of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean in September.

March organizers described their mission as to “stand in solidarityONE people—ONE voice—against unjust laws that have been systematically oppressive and crippling to the people of Puerto Rico and the socio-economic growth and sustainability of the island.” The organizer’s website also said that the “Unity March for Puerto Rico is asking for legislative reforms in support of: permanently exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act; the cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt; and rebuilding Puerto Rico.”

People came in contingents from cities up and down the East Coast and throughout the Midwest. Many college-aged youth marched, and entire families from grandparents to little kids were there. Prominent people such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jose Andrés, and Rita Moreno spoke. A march organizer announced from the stage that Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who has been singled out for racist attacks by Donald Trump, had been scheduled to attend and to speak to the rally, but that her plane had been unable to leave the airport because of electrical malfunction. Many people referred to her as their voice on the island.

A sentiment expressed repeatedly by those at the march was that the people of Puerto Rico have been completely disrespected by the government, specifically the “Casa Blanca” (White House). And there was a tremendous amount of Puerto Rican pride in response to that. A theme from several speakers and many in the crowd was that this crisis has been going on for two months and that people recognize they are being abandoned and treated differently than people on the U.S. mainland hit by major hurricanes this year.

Over and over people denounced the Jones Act, a law from 1920 that requires all shipping between other U.S. ports and Puerto Rico to be on ships built in the U.S., owned and operated by U.S. citizens, and flying the U.S. flag, which raises the cost of almost everything on the island. Trump put a waiver on the Jones Act for ten days after Maria hit, and then reinstated it, inflicting further, ongoing punishment on Puerto Rico and making the challenge of rebuilding the island much more difficult.

A crew distributed Revolution newspaper and leaflets of the demands posted on Revcom.us. Hundreds of Refuse Fascism stickers and leaflets, in Spanish and English, were also taken up by many people, and some put the stickers on immediately. A Revolution distributor described the mood of the crowd as “celebratory and angry at same time.” Just about everyone agreed strongly that, as the Revolution distributor said, “There is a white supremacist in the White House, and we need to fight this regime.”

Many of the speakers focused on the amount of money that has been raised for Puerto Rico and looking to upcoming elections (the closest scheduled election still a year away) to address the situation. Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, had the gall to say that the forced mass exodus of people from Puerto Rico into Florida could be a boon for the Democrats in upcoming elections.

Rita Moreno delivered a much more powerful and truthful message: “At this moment, so many Puertorriqueños are living in the dark, literally and symbolically. Children are playing in filthy water, they’re unable to play in school. Our people are hungry, thirsty, sick, and as a panacea, they had rolls of paper towels thrown at them (boos from the crowd). That is insulting. That is obscene. That is an unloving, unfeeling human being. You know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about 3.5 million human beings barely existing in the most horrible hardships being told to get their act together. That is obscene. Where is the USA, where is Congress, with its ‘great soul and generous heart’? It’s not there. It’s not there, (sarcastically) Mr. President. It’s right here (pointing to the cheering crowd). P’alante, p’arriba.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/27ba-science...the-decisive-role-of-leadership-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Excerpt 1 from the section:
The Decisive Role of Leadership

Let’s start with a very basic point: Leadership is decisive. As Mao put it, where there is oppression there will be resistance: the masses of oppressed people will repeatedly rise up and fight back against their oppression. But where that struggle ends up, and whether it can be taken all the way to an emancipating revolution, a new society and ultimately a new world, without exploitation and oppression and all the suffering and destruction that goes along with that, depends on leadership—on the line, the worldview, the method and approach, the strategy and program of the force which gains the leadership in the struggle against oppression.

Notice that I said “the force which gains the leadership.” Why did I put it this way—and what is the importance of this? Well, one of the things this is emphasizing is that there is always going to be a struggle over who’s in the leading position, and therefore where things are being led. It’s not a matter of things falling into anyone’s lap—unless it’s the ruling class, or other forces that will have spontaneity going for them and will lead things in the wrong direction—but especially if the leadership the masses actually need, to make the revolution they need, is really going to gain the leading position, it’s going to be a process of, yes, complex, and at times very fierce, struggle. Once again, if we think it’s just a matter that eventually the masses will see the need for a revolution and they’ll come seeking us out and ask us to lead them—well, we’ll be in for a very bad surprise! Even to the degree that something like that might happen, we wouldn’t be able to handle it correctly, if that’s our orientation and approach. There has to be a fight—this goes back to the point a little while ago, that much of the struggle we carry out, particularly in the ideological realm, is struggle against other lines and programs which do not directly flow from and represent the ruling class but are more representative of intermediate strata, but which, nonetheless, lead people back into, or keep them chained within, the killing confines and dynamics of this system.

Now, I mentioned earlier the book The Looting Machine. The full title is The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa’s Wealth. The author, Tom Burgis, starts off the first chapter of the book speaking about Chicala, which is a shantytown slum in Luanda, the capital city of Angola; and he talks about how there isn’t much that is in the wall separating Chicala from the rest of the city, other than a lot of sewage, as well as fear. This called to mind something I wrote earlier about the piles of garbage and human waste that little children in Luanda and other parts of Angola are playing amidst, while a few miles away there are tall buildings serving as glittering monuments to the power of the wealthy. You see this now in China, in Shanghai and other cities, but even in Luanda and places like that—these glittering skyscrapers, symbols of this vast wealth in a very few hands. And Angola is a particularly poignant example, because the ruling force now in Angola is what proceeded from the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (the MPLA), which was the nationalist force leading the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, which dominated Angola, and then a civil war against forces backed by apartheid South Africa and the U.S. This was fought out for decades in Angola. The clique now ruling in Angola came directly out of that—the heads of the country now were the leaders of the MPLA, and those who have succeeded them. Burgis makes the point that the daughter of the leader of the MPLA—Isabel dos Santos—is the first female billionaire in Africa. Isn’t that a shining example of “empowerment”?! You can just hear minions and mouthpieces of the system celebrating this—a female billionaire in Africa—while you get this vivid picture of the literal garbage and waste that the masses of people are living in, surrounding these glittering symbols of all this wealth that has, in a real sense, been looted from these countries and from the masses of people.

In reading this, you could think about—and a lot of people would think about—what a tragedy this is, what a horrible situation, what terrible corruption. Some would note the role of multinational corporations in all this, and talk about how the corporations have way too much power, and these days perhaps a few might talk about imperialism, in some general sense. Now, all that might be in the right direction and with the right spirit, but what struck me immediately, as I got into reading this book—and what struck me repeatedly in reading it—is how this screams out the need for an actual socialist transformation of these societies. Again, it’s back to the mode of production point, and the compelling reality that if you don’t have a leadership that bases itself on a scientific understanding of all this, you are going to end up in a terrible situation, despite the struggle and sacrifice of masses of people, including the struggle and sacrifices of the forces leading them. In other words, the leadership in these places like Angola, they end up saying things like, “We learned that money is power—if you don’t have money, you can’t do anything.” So, just like the revisionists in China, who took China back down the capitalist road while still pretending to be communists in some vague sense, these forces in places like Angola go about accumulating wealth through capitalist means, with the claim that this somehow benefits the masses of people. In China they literally had the slogan, “To Get Rich is Glorious”—they replaced the slogan during the time of Mao, “Serve the People,” with the slogan “To Get Rich is Glorious.” I remember hearing a story about one of the party cadre in China after the revisionist coup happened and they put away the slogan of “Serve the People” and the orientation of serving the people by advancing the revolution, and started talking about how everybody should try to get rich, because that would be for the benefit of the country. And one of these Chinese Communist Party cadre, now under this revisionist leadership that was promoting this bourgeois line, actually said to another party cadre: “Well, you know, we used to talk about serve the people; but aren’t I a people?” So you can see how the ideological corruption sets in when the dominant line is changed in this way and is being pumped at people, even people who definitely once knew better. They get caught up in this idea that if we all go out for ourselves, we’ll make a lot of money and then we can do something good for the masses of poor people. So this slogan, “To Get Rich is Glorious,” was supposed to inspire people to make a lot of money, and that would develop the economy and help the people. And in reading The Looting Machine you see this rationalization repeated by the heads of government in these different African countries: Well, if we amass a lot of wealth, then we can do something for the people.

Now, again, many of these people fought under very difficult conditions for decades. They were up against apartheid South Africa, which was a very powerful country at the time, and was being backed up by the U.S., even as the ruling class of the U.S. put up some pretense of opposing apartheid. Going up against that, the MPLA in Angola relied somewhat on the Soviet Union, which was a real problem, but they waged a lot of self-sacrificing struggle. Why did things end up this way? Well, there were major shifts in the world and world relations, including the fact that the Soviet Union as such collapsed and its empire went out of existence in its previous form, with Soviet social-imperialism (socialism in name but imperialism in fact) being replaced by an openly capitalist-imperialist Russia, and China now on the road of capitalism. All this was disorienting, and all the more so because people weren’t scientific enough. Forces like the MPLA were eclectic—their viewpoint was a mishmash of nationalism and some aspects of communism, it was not a consistently scientific communist approach. And so, when these new conditions hit, what did they end up doing? They became nouveau bourgeois exploiters, and at the same time accomplices (and basically appendages) of imperialism, accumulating tremendous wealth for themselves, on the backs of the masses of people.

Here we get back to a point that was made, toward the beginning of this presentation, on the base and the superstructure—the economic system, the mode of production, and how it sets the terms for things in society overall, and how, in turn, the superstructure that arises on that economic base serves to reinforce it. In other words, the political and ideological superstructure—the political system, the laws, the culture, the ideas that dominate in the society—have to be in accordance with that mode of production, or the society can’t function. So if you go down the road of saying we’re gonna use capitalist means to get a lot of wealth, if that’s the mode of production that’s operating, then you have to have a superstructure of laws, political institutions, culture and ideology, and so on, that goes along with and enforces that capitalist system, even if you once had a different set of ideas.

 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/bob_avakian_official_biography/Bob_Avakian_(BA)_Official_Biography-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian (BA)—Official Biography

This Bob Avakian (BA) Official Biography is published here with the permission of The Bob Avakian Institute.

Introduction

Bob Avakian

"If you don't have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state."
– Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the "new communism." Read more

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/513/bob_avakian-a-question-of-basic-stand-and-orientation-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

October 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Question of Basic Stand and Orientation

By Bob Avakian

 

SUPPORT AND SPREAD THE FURY
AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE

The phenomenon of sexual harassment and sexual assault—including (but not limited to) the sexual abuse of women by men who hold positions of power over them—is long-standing and widespread throughout this male supremacist society and is reinforced by the putrid culture it has spawned. The outpouring of outrage against this sexual abuse and the all too commonplace institutional cover-ups and complicity with it, and the demand for a radical change in the culture—which has made a major leap in relation to the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and has now spread far beyond that, involving millions of women, in sphere after sphere throughout this country and in other countries as well—is right, righteous, and long overdue, and should be supported, encouraged, spread, and defended against counter-attack. 

In the context of such a long-suppressed outpouring of outrage, there are bound to be some negative aspects, including some excesses, where false or exaggerated accusations are made in particular cases; but these have been (and will almost certainly remain) a very secondary aspect of the phenomenon. If and when it may be necessary to point to some of these shortcomings, this must be done very judiciously, in a way that does not undermine the overwhelmingly positive character of this upsurge, and in fact helps to strengthen it.

This long-suppressed and thoroughly just outpouring of outrage is not the same as any particular accusation. Such particular accusations do have to be approached on the basis of scientifically evaluating the evidence, and this is especially important where the accusations not only allege misconduct but actual criminal action, such as rape or other sexual assault. But this distinction, between particular accusations and the overall phenomenon, should not be allowed to obscure or diminish the righteousness and importance of the massive upsurge against this widespread and deeply-rooted abuse and the tremendous injury it does to women and to humanity as a whole.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/Bob-Avakian-on-breaking-all-the-chains-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Bob Avakian on Breaking ALL the Chains

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world. And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In 'modern' countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this 'new world' where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways."

BAsics 1:10

NYC. Photo: Enbion Micah Aan
NYC. Photo: Enbion Micah Aan

Sri Lanka, 2004. Photo: Mukai
Sri Lanka, 2004. Photo: Mukai

"It is a striking fact—which is starkly evident in the U.S. now—that, in comparison to what is done to women, there is no other group in society that is so systematically reviled and defiled in a way that has become acceptable (or widely accepted in any case) as a significant part of 'mainstream' life and culture, as happens in a concentrated way through pornography and the extremely demeaning and degrading images and messages about women it massively and pervasively purveys (with the Internet a major focus and vehicle for this), including pornography's extensive portrayal of sadistic and violent sexual domination of women...

"I began the 'Revolution' talk with 'They're Selling Postcards of the Hanging,' reviewing the ugly history of the lynching of Black people in America and the way in which celebration of this became a cultural phenomenon in the U.S., with the selling of picture postcards of these lynchings a major expression of this—often including smiling and leering crowds of white people surrounding the murdered and mutilated body of a Black man. In a recent exchange, a comrade emphasized this profoundly important and compelling point: Today, the way in which pornography depicts women—the displaying of women in a degraded state for the titillation of viewers—including the grotesque brutality and violence against women which is involved in much of this, is the equivalent of those 'Postcards of the Hanging.' It is a means through which all women are demeaned and degraded."

Bob Avakian, Unresolved Contradictions,
Driving Forces for Revolution

"This brings up one very important factor in all this: the positive side of unresolved contradictions under socialism—the bringing to the fore of driving forces for revolutionary transformation in the socialist stage—forces on the cutting edge of contradictions that are coming to the fore as decisive questions in terms of whether society will be moved forward or dragged backward. A very important aspect of all this is the woman question, the struggle for the complete emancipation of women. This will be a decisive question giving rise to crucial struggle throughout the socialist period.

"Along with this are other divisions and inequalities left over from the old society....Unleashing all these forces [related to these unresolved contradictions in socialist society] to speak out, rally forces, raise criticism, and rise in rebellion can be risky and messy. But such mass upheaval is no less essential under socialism than it is under capitalism. And certainly this is not something communists should fear!"

BAsics 2:25

 

New Delhi, India, December 2012, rising up against the epidemic of rape. Photo: AP
New Delhi, India, December 2012, rising up against the epidemic of rape.
Photo: AP

"You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution."

BAsics 3:22

In contrast to today's world culture, which degrades women as weak or as sex objects, in socialist China during the Cultural Revolution operas and ballets put the masses on stage front and center, with women as physically and ideologically strong central characters.

"This takes us back to the very important point from ‘The End of a Stage—The Beginning of a New Stage’ about unresolved contradictions under socialism. What is said there is another way of expressing the understanding that the struggle for the complete emancipation of women will be a crucial part of ‘the final revolution.’ In other words, it will be a crucial component in propelling and driving forward not only the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the rule of capitalism-imperialism but to continue the revolution, within the new, socialist society itself, in order to advance on the road toward the final aim of communism. The point is that, among the unresolved contradictions which will remain in socialist society, and which can be a driving force propelling that revolution forward, the continuing ways in which the emancipation of women will need to be fought for and fought through will be one of the most decisive aspects and expressions of that."

BAsics 2:30

"In many ways, and particularly for men, the woman question and whether you seek to completely abolish or to preserve the existing property and social relations and corresponding ideology that enslave women (or maybe 'just a little bit' of them) is a touchstone question among the oppressed themselves. It is a dividing line between 'wanting in' and really 'wanting out': between fighting to end all oppression and exploitation—and the very division of society into classes—and seeking in the final analysis to get your part in this."

BAsics 5:18

"Marx and Engels said in the Communist Manifesto that the communist revolution represents a radical rupture with traditional property relations and with traditional ideas. And the one is not possible without the other. They are mutually reinforcing, one way or the other.

"If you have a society in which the fundamental role of women is to be breeders of children, how can you have a society in which there is equality between men and women? You cannot. And if you don't attack and uproot the traditions, the morals, and so on, that reinforce that role, how can you transform the relations between men and women and abolish the deep‑seated inequalities that are bound up with the whole division of society into oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited? You cannot."

From "Three Alternative Worlds" supplement in BAsics

Includes "The New Synthesis and the Woman Question: The Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution—Further Leaps and Radical Ruptures," Part III of Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution (2009). (p 18)

Read/Download PDF HERE.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Week Two of Roy Moore Scandal: Misogynist-in-Chief Weighs In

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The basic idea: While the accused sexual predator and Christian fascist religious fanatic Roy Moore continues his campaign for Senate, Trump effectively throws him his support. The upsurge against the perpetrators of sexual abuse and assault must continue, and as part of this Trump must not be allowed to continue to get away with the abuse he has already bragged about and the legal attacks against women’s rights that he is spearheading.

The controversy over the Republican nomination of Roy Moore to be senator from Alabama has gone further since we wrote last week.

Roy Moore is a religious fanatic. He has twice been removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for rulings that placed the Christian Bible over U.S. law. First, he refused to move a massive monument to the Ten Commandments that he had placed in front of a courthouse. Then, after being re-elected to the Alabama court despite this, he defied the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gay people have the right to marry. In addition, he has been  a long-time vicious fighter against the rights of women, including especially the rights to abortion and birth control.

All of this should have been enough to disqualify this Christian fascist in the first place. But then it came to light two weeks ago that Moore had made a specialty of stalking teenage girls while he was a district attorney in his 30s. Some of his victims, no doubt encouraged by the actions of women all over the country in naming predators and abusers, had come forward to accuse Moore of actual sexual assault. As the week wore on, it came out that the mall where he carried out his stalking took special measures to prevent it from happening there (though it seems as if nobody ever tried to actually STOP him from this criminal behavior by calling him to account for it).

While Moore himself still denies everything, most of his defenders have now taken a new tack. The fascist David Horowitz, for instance, says that while he believes that Moore actually did this sick and criminal shit, he should nevertheless be elected because, in short, Horowitz thinks this would be better than having a non-sexual predator from the Democrats get the seat.1 While some Republican senators still oppose Moore and say he should step down, at this point the dominant section of the Republicans—the outright Trumpian fascists—have rallied around this vicious and blatant oppressor.

This is concentrated in the actions of Trump. Trump says that “if the allegations are true” Moore should stand down, but he also says that so long as Moore denies them he will leave it to the people of Alabama to decide. At a time when some key Republicans are saying that there is enough evidence from what we DO know to demand that Moore step down and, if elected, not be seated, Trump has effectively endorsed Moore by not joining this chorus.

Instead, Trump went after a different target, Democratic Senator Al Franken. Franken had admitted to a gross and oppressive sexual act against a woman several years before becoming senator. Just to be clear, Franken’s action was oppressive and should NOT be tolerated. But Franken had admitted this and apologized and—thus far, at least—this seems to be a single instance. Nonetheless, Trump attacked Franken for it on Twitter, twice. Meanwhile, here is Moore with a whole history of predatory stalking of teenage girls and accusations by some of these girls that Moore committed actual felonies against them, punishable by as much as ten years in prison. And Moore also supports an entire program of overturning and eviscerating basic legal and constitutional rights of women and putting them back in religious chains. Yet who does Trump attack? And who, through his thundering silence, does he support?

Even more to the point: Trump himself has not just admitted but boasted on tape of ugly and criminal assaults against women and has also been accused by over a dozen women, and sued for defamation by a former participant on his TV show whom he labeled a liar. Yet Trump himself continues in office and has the nerve to attack a political opponent’s accused actions which, while clearly wrong, are less serious than Trump’s admitted actions by an order of magnitude.

When this was pointed out to Trump’s spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, she justified Trump’s previous admissions by saying that since he got elected after they came out, “the voters had spoken.” Well, whether they “spoke” or not, a crime is a crime is a crime—and even were this Trump’s only crime, and it is not, it should be enough for people to continue to raise hell and demand that he and his whole rotten regime be thrown out.

In fact, people like Trump and Moore are doubly guilty. First, for their unapologetic oppressive behavior against women. Second, for their support of a whole program that would slam women back into a qualitatively more subjugated position in society and for their enforcement of that program through law (and here they are joined by the pious predator-enablers and predator-apologists like Pence).

The current upsurge against sexual assault and harassment is extremely important. It needs to go forward and it needs to spread much further. It has shone a much needed light on a horrendous daily crime that weighs as a heavy chain on tens of millions of women, in every walk of life, day after day after day. It has raised critical questions about many spheres of society, and it needs to get into many more. As a crucial part of this, the outcry against Trump himself and his whole regime must be renewed with real determination and drive.

 


1. In a November 10 tweet, Horowitz said, “In my view Moore is guilty as accused. But 1) it happened 30 years ago, & 2) he can't be removed from the ballot, & 3) electing a Dem strengthens a party that defends these criminals: Obama, the Clintons, Holder, Lynch, Abedin, Cheryl Mills etc. & their crimes are far, far worse.” [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/women-of-atenco-take-mexico-to-international-court-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

"Now it's the government's turn to sit in the dock; all we want is justice"
Women of Atenco take Mexico to international court for sexual torture

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Eleven years after the bloody, vengeful police suppression of a just resistance in the village of Atenco, close to Mexico City, 11 of the dozens of women who were sexually tortured and brutalized by police took their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. On November 16 and 17, before the court, which is based in Costa Rica, five women relayed their harrowing stories, which they have had to relate and relive over and over and over again each time the Mexican authorities have “investigated”—which amounted to attempts to humiliate them and extract an extra measure of punishment for daring to speak out.

In the court. Photo: Centro Prodh

Eleven years later, not a single policeman or prison doctor has ever been punished, and not one of the higher-ups in charge of the assault has even been accused. The women are asking the international court to demand that the Mexican government investigate the chain of command that led to the savage attack and the cover-up of the sexual torture. The governor of the state of Mexico at the time, who ordered the attack, was Enrique Peña Nieto, now the president of Mexico.

“Repeatedly, repeatedly, they made us feel small, invalid, broken, without value,” said one of the victims about the authorities’ humiliating and blameful “investigations.” On top of that, many suffered rejection from husbands and families, because of the cultural shame of rape, the lasting psychological trauma, and the time they had to devote to fight through on the case.

On November 17, these 11 brave women all appeared in court in T-shirts that read “Rompiendo el Silencio” (Breaking the Silence). As they have declared many times, sexual torture is systemic as a deliberate means to force women to stay out of political life; they are paying the heavy cost of breaking the silence not mainly for themselves so much as for untold thousands of women in Mexico—and they have specifically called out the rape of indigenous women which goes unpunished.

The Example of Atenco: Why police attacked

Includes "The New Synthesis and the Woman Question: The Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution—Further Leaps and Radical Ruptures," Part III of Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution (2009). (p 18)

Read/Download PDF HERE.

The small rural town of San Salvador Atenco (“Atenco”) in the state of Mexico, 20 miles from the capital, Mexico City, had made headlines around the world in 2002 when militant peasant farmers and their supporters successfully blocked national plans to expropriate their lands for an airport. For the Mexican ruling class, Atenco was one resounding defeat in an overall battle to impose a neoliberal development model which the U.S. imperialists have been forcefully promoting.

To give just a taste of what was swirling around the Atenco struggle and why the authorities hated it so, here is a note from a four-part report by a Revolution writing team which spent time camped out with hundreds of protestors in 2002 (Revolutionary Worker #1178, December 8, 2002):

Many women said that before they became active in the struggle they were mujeres agachadas—women with their heads bowed down. They followed the same routine every day: buy food, cook the food, wash the dishes, wash clothes, clean the house, cook again, wash again, etc., etc., etc. They rarely saw beyond their front door—not because they didn’t care, but because it “wasn’t their place.” All this changed when they learned about the government’s plans to expropriate their land. A flame was ignited in the hearts of the women of Atenco.... The women described this change as “el día que nací”—“the day I was born.”

Four years later, in May 2006, police attacked and evicted a group of street flower vendors in the nearby town of Texcoco. Instead of backing down, some 300 townspeople seized the plaza, blocked the highway, chased police out, and made a “citizens’ arrest” of some of the brutalizers. As in 2002, supporters flocked to the town to defend them and/or document the events. Mexican TV news repeatedly aired aerial views of police fleeing ignobly en masse from protestors, and of protestors beating police in punishment for their brutal assaults. To the Mexican government and its imperialist patrons in the U.S., it raised the ominous question of whether Mexico was becoming “ungovernable,” and this could not be allowed.

In response, the governor of the state of Mexico—at that time Enrique Peña Nieto, now the national president—sent 3,500 police to attack Texcoco and Atenco like an invading army. They tear-gassed the main square, shot two people to death (one of them a 14-year-old boy), ganged up to beat dozens of people to a bloody pulp, and threw them in piles onto trucks and buses. They singled out 47 women and threw them onto buses to be taken to a women’s prison two hours’ drive away.

That drive lasted more than four hours: an eternity of rape, sexual torture, and terror that forever haunts the lives of every woman on those buses. They were raped, beaten, penetrated with fingers and metal objects, forced to perform oral sex, robbed, humiliated, and threatened with death, all this while their shirts were pulled up over their eyes and, in many cases, they were literally stacked face down in piles of bloody bodies. They could hear the other women crying out in pain, begging for the abuse to stop, or saying that they couldn’t breathe beneath the pile.

As nightmarish as each testimony is, what stands out is the calculated nature of the assaults and the targeting of women who dare to stand up.

       

Several police interviewed anonymously, wearing hoods, reported that it was their commanders who ordered them to attack “anything that moved” in Atenco (as shown in the documentary Atenco Romper el Cerco (Breaking the Encirclement)). Also in the documentary, an observer reported that when the police were throwing the women prisoners onto the bus, they shouted, “Now you bitches are going to find out what it really means to be in a revolt.” At the same time that they were beating and raping them, they said that it was all the women’s own fault, that if they had stayed at home making tortillas, none of this would have happened.

When the women arrived at the prison, days passed before they received medical attention, and when they did, prison doctors ignored clear evidence of sexual abuse and beatings. One woman, whose fingers were so badly broken and permanently damaged that she had to give up her artistic career, testified that a doctor told her that the women had surely wounded themselves in order to complain. Instead, the authorities charged the women with crimes such as “blocking public access,” and several of them served time on serious trumped-up charges, one woman two years.

“The manuals of radical groups say that they should claim they were raped”
―President of Mexico

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world. And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In “modern” countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this “new world” where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:10

Back in 2006, Enrique Peña Nieto’s response to the reports of the sexual torture was: It is “known that the manuals of radical groups say that they should claim they were raped, if they are women, or if they are men, that they were victims of abuse and beatings. We should not fall into the fabrication of guilt based on these accusations.” (Interview with a local newspaper reported in La Jornada, June 16, 2006)

What the fuck?! Why has nobody ever asked him to produce said “manual”? Being dumb does not give you a pass to be a lying sack of shit, Peña.

However, in the metaphorical manual of the oppressors, rape as a means of terror is one of the oldest pages in the book, and it reflects the great importance, for any oppressive system, of keeping women in their place and using patriarchy in the general population to maintain the social order.

As the years dragged by and the Mexican government had only remanded for investigation some lower level policemen, not one of whom it has managed to convict, the Centro Prodh [El Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez], which has spearheaded the case, and CEJIL (Center for Justice and International Law), decided that their only recourse was to take the case to the international court. Last fall, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (which, together with the court, are entities of the Organization of American States) determined that there was sufficient evidence for the court to hear the case against Mexico. The court is expected to issue a ruling early next year.

In the past couple of years, the Mexican government, faced with the potential embarrassment on the world stage of an international court hearing the Atenco case on top of the ongoing struggle around the forced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, has remanded more policemen and prison doctors, so that they could beat their chests in the court hearings on November 16-17 about how all of 52 public servants had been remanded in the case, and that the Inter-American Commission had “committed a grave error” in its ruling to hear the case and hence is unfairly affecting those ongoing cases as well as the government’s “judicial security.” It also complained that the court had failed to take into consideration that the government had offered the 11 women “reparations” such as scholarships and psychiatric treatment, which, it whined, they refused to accept. It also claimed to have made advances in “gender equality” in government. At the same time, under pressure, it accepted responsibility for human rights violations committed, including sexual torture.

But... why is it still the case that the only people who have spent time in jail in this case ARE THE VICTIMS? Why is Enrique Peña Nieto not sitting in the dock right now? Where are the other three top state and federal officials who were right on hand in the middle of the action? Where is the head of police? And who gave the order to “attack anything that moved”? The farthest up the chain of command that the authorities have gone is one police commander in charge of one bus—and he was never even indicted, for “lack of evidence.” Also, the women are demanding justice for all the victims of the police violence in Atenco and Texcoco, including about 170 men who were savagely beaten, and two who were murdered.

As far as Mexico’s supposed “advances in gender equality,” Amnesty International filed an amicus curiae brief with the court in which it noted, “the sexual violence which was used in the case continues to be habitual during the arrest of women,” and “we observe that sexual torture continues to be a common practice in our country which remains unpunished.”

In a historic moment in time when, on a global scale, sexual abuse by powerful men is being dragged into the light of day, the brave Women of Atenco who have held firm to their truth against great odds and difficulties for 11 years deserve to have their story spread on a global scale, “not only so that justice is served but also so that these acts are not repeated,” said one of the 11 accusers. Another said, “Today it’s the government’s turn to sit in the dock; all we want is justice.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/packing-federal-courts-with-theocrats-and-other-fascists-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

The “Untold Story” of Trump’s Judicial Appointments

Packing the Federal Courts with Theocrats and Other Fascists

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Basic Idea: Trump is packing the federal courts with extreme fascistic judges. He is doing this at an extremely fast pace. The aim: to transform the courts into an openly fascistic arm of the government. Trump is carrying out a top-to-bottom transformation of the federal courts. It is aimed at turning them into a reliable instrument for the all-around fascist transformation of society that is the mission of the Trump/Pence regime. And there is not nearly enough attention being paid to this!

But the judge story is an untold story; nobody wants to talk about it. But when you think about it... that has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge—but 40 years out.”
―Donald Trump, October 16, 2017

This transformation started with Trump’s January 31 nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court—Gorsuch is not only on the far right of this majority right-wing court, he has stood out for being impatient with the other reactionaries on the Court for moving too slowly and cautiously in tearing up the existing democratic norms of U.S. society.

But even that is just the tip of the iceberg—Trump is moving quickly to fill all vacant positions in the federal court system (including the district courts and courts of appeal) with like-minded fascists. He has already nominated 59 people to federal judgeships, more than double the number Obama nominated in his first year in office, and amounting to more than 5 percent of total federal judgeships. If Trump remains in power, the number could rise to hundreds by the end of his term.

The federal courts wield tremendous power in the U.S. system. They rule on the constitutionality of actions, laws, and policies of the other branches of the federal government, and of states and cities—any law that is passed by Congress, any executive order of the president, can be overturned by the federal courts.

These courts do not stand “above” society representing for some abstract “justice”—they are an instrument of the rule of the capitalist-imperialist system, and historically they have sanctioned slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of Japanese people in World War 2, the criminalization of LGBTQ people, and every other horror this system has brought down on people here and around the world.

But Trump is spearheading an “extreme makeover” of this already extremely oppressive society—one that requires tearing up and trampling on the previous rules, norms, and even fundamental constitutional rights that have provided a framework for the functioning of this system up until now. Things like separation of powers, rule of law, separation of church and state, the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, civil rights and equality before the law for people of all nationalities, including the right to vote, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and more, are intolerable obstacles to Trump’s vision of “Making America Great Again.”

Federal judges have lifetime appointments, meaning most judges were appointed before fascist forces in the ruling class became dominant. Many of these are oriented towards the nonfascist wing of the ruling class which is resistant to much of Trump’s program. There were also many right-wing judges appointed in the last few decades, but even some of them tend to accept and operate within the basic norms and protocols that have prevailed in the U.S. since World War 2 and the 1960s.

So, many of these courts are not fully “down with the program,” and have been throwing up significant obstacles to key parts of Trump’s agenda—this came out very sharply with Trump’s Muslim Ban, versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2, all of which were either fully or partially blocked by various federal courts.

Trump has railed against the courts, referring to “so-called judges” and so forth. And if push comes to shove, he might use his domination of Congress and the military, as well has his strong influence among cops and other pigs, and the fascist mobs who adore and follow him, to bludgeon, overrule, or even disband courts that refuse to accede to his demands. But any moves like that would be dangerous for the regime. So for now, Trump is concentrating on packing the courts with people who are down with his whole program.

Let’s look at some of the nominees so far, who are moving smoothly through the Senate confirmation process—including even the four nominees who were rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.

Brett Talley, nominated to the Alabama district court, has been an attorney for three years, and has never taken a case to trial. His sole “qualifications” for being a federal judge are that he graduated from law school... and is a fascist lunatic. Talley is a fervent supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which over decades morphed from a “sportsmen’s association” to a nerve center of racist and fascist terror. Talley said of the NRA that “I pray that in the coming battle for our rights, they will be victorious.” When a reader responded that “We will have to resort to arms” to “yield the desired results,” Talley wrote back, “I agree completely.”

Amy Coney Barrett, nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, belongs to “People of Praise,” a Catholic group that, according to the New York Times, holds that “husbands are the heads of their wives, and should take authority over the family.” Members “swear a lifelong oath of loyalty,” and women are assigned a personal advisor, called a “handmaid,” who directs them in all aspects of their lives.

Jeff Mateer, nominated to the Texas Eastern District court, once described transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan.

Damien Schiff, nominated for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, wrote that he “disagrees with a landmark ruling decriminalizing sodomy” (including gay sex).

John Bush, confirmed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, “compared the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion to the infamous Dred Scott decision that affirmed the right to own slaves.” (Re Barrett, Mateer, Schiff and Bush, see the Christian Science Monitor, October 2, 2017.)

Two interwoven fascist currents define these nominees. One is “originalism,” the legal doctrine that the U.S. Constitution should be “interpreted” according to the “original intent” of the “founders.” Let’s remember—the “founders” were slave owners or enablers of slavery; the “original” Constitution held that Black people were not full human beings, denied women and people without property the right to vote, and under that Constitution, men could legally beat and rape their wives. The founders’ “original intent” was white supremacy and unbridled patriarchy!

The second is Christian fascism. These people believe that the Constitution should be “interpreted” according to the “original intent”... of the fucking Old Testament, in which women were chattel (property) and gay people were condemned to death.

And as Ilya Shapiro of the libertarian Cato Institute told the Christian Science Monitor, Trump wants “to avoid” appointees who are “too judicially restrained. There’s definitely been an effort to identify people who are seriously committed to doctrines and modes of analysis rather than just being seen as conservatives or Republicans.” (Emphasis added) In other words, Trump doesn’t just want “right-wing” judges, he wants judges who will not be constrained by legal precedent, constitutional niceties, or even what is generally considered to be basic decency, from carrying out the fascists’ “extreme makeover” of U.S. society.

Stacking the courts with these deranged fascists is an “untold story”—and an extremely ominous development, which underscores the great urgency of driving this regime from power at the soonest possible time.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/east-LA-Mendez-students-walk-out-again-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

East L.A. Mendez High Students Walk Out—Again!—to Demand "Trump/Pence Regime Must GO"

November 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a member of the Revolution Club, LA

Over 40 students from Mendez High School in East Los Angeles walked out from school and took to the streets in protest for the second time since the one-year anniversary of the election of the fascist Donald Chump. These students have courageously stepped out in righteous indignation to the horrors that the fascist regime in the White House has already unleashed. At a time when far too many people who hate what Trump is doing are learning to remain silent, are beginning to accommodate, or just accept as inevitable the horrors to come, even when that could be a nuclear war, these students said, “Fuck NO!, Trump and Pence Must Go!”

The week before students spread the word on Snapchat after one student heard the Revolution Club calling on students to walk out at a different high school and watched the trailer of Bob Avakian’s latest talk, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America: Another World IS Possible. Mendez HS students walked out on the 8th, took to the streets and marched around different campuses calling on others to walk out. The Revolution Club joined them and let them know about the mission we were on along with many others of diverse viewpoints to drive out the Trump/Pence Regime because of its fascist nature and the consequences this will mean for all of humanity if they aren’t driven out through massive protests. We let them know what we started on Nov. 4 and the urgent need for these protests to continue and keep growing, they said they could organize another walkout for the following week. One student made a call to students all across the country to get involved. When the Revolution Club went to Mendez to pass out fliers and talk to students about the walk out, several of them already knew about it.

On Wednesday morning, Nov. 15, Mendez students started texting us asking if we would come to their school to help them walkout, when we responded, “Hell yes!” they told us to bring the bullhorn.

A student organizer with Refuse Fascism joined one of the Revolution Club members at Mendez and we waited outside for the students. They planned on walking out right at the front and asked us to meet them there. However, word had got out to the school administration and the principal started telling students that they better not walk out. And when the time students had planned to walk out came, the exits were guarded by staff and school police. We stood out front agitating on the bullhorn as students gathered feet away from the guarded gate. They texted us to let us know that all the exits were being blocked by staff. We kept agitating about the stakes involved right now and spoke directly to the teachers blocking the exits letting them know that whatever their intentions, they were doing something wrong by preventing the students from walking out.

The crowd began to thin out until only a few students remained, including a couple of hecklers who tried making fun of the fact that we weren’t being successful at calling the students out. We repeated the ignorant comments made by these students and spoke to the heartlessness captured in making those remarks as children are crying from having their families ripped apart right around them and others in North Korea younger than them are having safety drills in school because the very real threat of them being incinerated by a nuclear bomb looms over them. This had an impact on the students who were laughing at the foolishness coming from their fellow schoolmates—they stopped laughing, the hecklers walked away, and other students signaled to us that they were going to make it out the side of the school.

The crowd had almost completely dispersed, when we saw a couple of students running across the street away from the school. We walked around the school and met with a couple of other members of the Revolution Club who had just arrived when all of a sudden about 40 more students poured out the side. They told us that there were more students who wanted to get out but couldn’t find a way. One student later told us that he made a map on his phone that led to the exit they were able to escape through and sent it to his friends still trapped inside.

The students picked up signs and marched around the school chanting, “Trump and Pence Must Go!” along with “Join Us! Join Us! Join Us!” One buffoon of a teacher angrily yelled at these students that they were stupid for doing this, but the students remained undeterred and continued to chant while the person on the bullhorn let people know that this idiot was the one who was wrong and the students were the ones who were courageous by doing the right thing.

We took the streets as we marched over 1st Street bridge heading toward downtown Los Angeles getting an overwhelmingly positive response from people outside all the small shops and businesses. Cars honked their horns and raised their fists in approval, even the ones who were being slowed down by these youth taking up the street lanes. We also came across the occasional Trump supporters, and the students defiantly yelled at them to fuck off. We marched into Pershing Square triumphantly, and after a few minutes rest some students stood on the corner distributing fliers to passersby letting them know about the next protest on Nov. 18 letting people know that this is a fight so that “Trump will no longer be the president.”

While we hung out at Pershing Square, I started asking some of the students why they decided to walk out. One student just said because he “don’t like Trump” and “fuck Trump.” But when I asked another student nearby why he walked out and this student responded that he didn’t like school and didn’t really care about what was going on, the students who were around immediately got on his case, saying, “fuck you!” and “asshole.” And the first student, who had only said he didn’t like Trump, challenged him by asking, “You mean to tell me that if ICE comes to your house, kicks down your door and snatches your family away that you wouldn’t care?” A student told me later that that kid wasn’t serious, that he did care but he was trying to act cool. Another student said she did it because other people can’t speak up and that they are afraid—that all they did was come here to the U.S. give their kids a better life, and that standing up right now was a way that the youth could give back to their parents who made those sacrifices.

One of the main student organizers saw a video from high school students in New York City giving Mendez High students support for their actions, and she was VERY impacted by it—she couldn't stop saying "WOW!”

The students had a lot of discussion with people there and talked about how they could get further organized and organize others so that this movement could grow among students. They went back home telling us that we would see them again on the 18th.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/thousands-of-scientists-issue-second-climate-warning-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

As Thousands of Scientists Issue “Warning to Humanity” of Looming Ecological Disaster... Trump/Pence Regime Gives a Big "Fuck You" to the World

November 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

A just-published statement signed by over 15,000 scientists around the world raises an urgent “warning to humanity”: if climate change and other severe harm now being inflicted on the environment are not stopped or significantly slowed very quickly, the consequences will be extremely dire. They warn, “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory and time is running out.”

The scientists call their statement “A Second Notice.” The first was issued 25 years ago by more than 1,700 scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates, who said environmental destruction by human society was pushing ecosystems beyond their capacity to sustain the web of life on the planet, and that major changes were needed “if vast human misery is to be avoided.”

Now, 25 years later—the new statement says that in terms of the key ecological damages, “alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.” The scientists say, “Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change”—caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (produced by the burning of oil, gas, and coal) as well as deforestation and industrialized agriculture. Indeed, also in the news recently were reports by scientific organizations that the levels of carbon dioxide—the main greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere—was up 50 percent in 2016 from the average of the last ten years.

Just in the recent months, we’ve see horrific effects that climate change is already having on human and other life: “monster storms”—fed by warmer air and seas—destroying the lives and homes of millions in South Asia, the Caribbean and Mexico's Gulf Coast... vast wildfires in the western U.S.... continuing flow of millions of refugees, many forced out of where they lived in Africa and Middle East by effects of climate change... worsening irreversible destruction of coral reefs and other sea life... All this and more will get much, much worse if climate change keeps on its current course.

As thousands of scientists issued their warning for the future of humanity, the American fascist regime carried out yet another criminal act. At the international conference on climate change being held in Germany, with delegates from nearly 200 countries, the only official appearance by the U.S. was at a panel on energy where Trump/Pence representatives made a big pitch for the use of fossil fuels, in particular coal—a major producer of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. This conference in Germany was part of moving on the 2016 Paris climate accords—and, as Revolution/revcom.us has analyzed, the goals for greenhouse gas emission cuts in the Paris agreement fell far short of what scientists say is actually needed to deal with climate change in a real way. And the fact is that even those insufficient goals are not on target to be met (“Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals,” NY Times, 11/6/17).

But for the Trump/Pence regime to go to an international climate conference in order to promote coal is a cold-blooded “FUCK YOU” to humanity and all life on the planet. It’s a message that what they deem to be good for the American empire trumps whatever harm that unfettered burning of oil and coal may cause to people and ecosystems around the world.

If further accelerating global climate change was the only nightmare that the Trump/Pence regime was responsible for—and, in fact, there are many more—that alone should be reason enough for millions upon millions of people to pour into the streets and town squares to say “Enough!” and act on the demand: In the Name of Humanity, the Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/aurora-roja-november-4-mexico-city-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Taken from the blog of Aurora Roja, voice of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, Mexico:

Against the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime:
November 4 in Front of the Yankee Embassy in Mexico City

November 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 4 a speakout and protest rally was held against the Trump/Pence fascist regime, in front of the main building of the Yankee Embassy in Mexico City.

It was held on November 4 to support and show solidarity with the thousands who at that moment were also mobilizing on the streets of two dozen cities in the United States, acting and joining the call of the Refuse Fascism initiative (see more information at refusefascism.org), with the demand, “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

Yes, this has to stop, the Trump/Pence fascist regime has to go.

The people walking along the sidewalk heard the agitation on the bullhorn. Some also received the flyers that were distributed and listened to what the compañeros were telling them as they put the flyer in their hands. It was a warm afternoon in which hundreds of people were walking by, or driving by in their cars, hearing and learning about the danger humanity is facing due to the advances and threats that the Trump/Pence fascist regime has been making. And that it’s urgent that the peoples of the world act in unity with the people of the United States and the Refuse Fascism initiative and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, who have been mobilizing in a great effort to drive out the whole Trump/Pence regime.

A large banner with the slogan “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!” attracted people’s attention, along with large posters exposing the attacks by the Trump/Pence regime during these months in the government. The visual form of these posters shows people the dimensions of the danger in which we find ourselves, if this fascist regime is able to consolidate, and at the same time poses the urgent need to unite and act in the name of humanity so that this nightmare ends.

On the bullhorn, the compañeros of the Movimiento Popular Revolucionario, and others who spoke, exposed, among other things, that what Trump/Pence are trying to consolidate is fascism, a drastic change in the bourgeois form of government to an open dictatorship that is exercised by terror, which crushes so-called rights and mobilizes its fascist forces to attack and commit atrocities against opponents, Muslims, immigrants, women, Black people, and others. We called out the recent statement by the U.S. Air Force that they made a “surprise raid, simulating a nuclear attack” on the North Korean peninsula, which is the escalation of the danger of a nuclear war that could cause thousands of deaths in the first instant that it happens. Also the criminal and ruthless persecution against immigrants and the recent case of the girl with cerebral palsy who was intercepted by ICE (Department of Immigration and Customs) on the way to be operated on, in order to arrest her for deportation after her operation. Or the escalation of attacks on the NFL (National Football League) players taking a knee when the U.S. national anthem is played in repudiation of the murder of Black people by racist white police. Trump attacked these players as “sons of bitches” who should be fired immediately. And the attacks and degradation against women, with an order not to give funds to clinics around the world, not even to give information about abortion. There was also talk of global warming and how the actions of the fascist regime accelerate it, endangering the survival of humanity. A migrant from Honduras denounced his recent deportation and the harassment being suffered by immigrants in the United States. And we called on people to be following the development of events of the people that have taken to the streets in the United States with the purpose of bringing forward more and more people and disrupting the life as usual in U.S. society until the Trump/Pence fascist regime leaves.

The Trump/Pence fascist regime has to go!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/516/why-the-democrats-victories-do-NOT-spell-the-end-of-trumpian-fascism-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Why the Democrats' Victories Do NOT Spell The End of Trumpian Fascism...

and How They Could Potentially Make The Situation With The Regime All The More Dangerous

by Toby O’Ryan

Updated November 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last night I watched the MSNBC response to the election of a number of Democrats in off-year elections around the country progress from giddy to rapturous to delirious. I’m always glad to see a stone racist like the Republican pig who ran in Virginia repudiated, but listen: investing our hopes now in a “Democratic tidal wave” in the elections of 2018 would be a deadly illusion. And here are three reasons why:

One, neither these elections nor the ones in 2018—nor the Democrats more generally—will do anything to reverse or even put the brakes on the Trump/Pence regime’s vicious and insanely risky foreign policy. If anything, any sense that he is losing political ground within the U.S. will make it more, not less, likely that he will go to war. Such a war would enable the regime to carry out severe repression within the U.S. and gain support on a “rally ’round the flag” basis. Right now, there is not a single major Democrat offering any substantial or consistent criticism of this. Indeed, the “we are more patriotic than he is” logic of what the Democrats are doing would lead them to support Trump in such lunacy—as they did with George W. Bush in 2002-2003.

Two, the leading Democrats have not only held back from calling for Trump’s removal, they have made it a policy to oppose raising even the question of impeachment. Hence, the regime, which has already done incalculable damage in just 10 months, will have more than three more years to work its lunacy. The Dems are repeating the “strategy” they used during the Bush years: become more like the Republicans in what they will say is an effort to win more voters and supposedly “isolate” Trump, and then do nothing to oppose him (which they couldn’t even if they wanted to, as they will have gotten elected on a basis that does not oppose America’s “right” to dictate to other countries). People in the United States of Amnesia may not remember that when this strategy “worked” for the Democrats in 2006, this meant that they did NOT oppose Bush’s escalation of the war in Iraq right after that election (the “surge”) nor did they roll back the highly repressive Patriot Act or any other of Bush’s extraordinarily repressive measures, all of which were fascistic in their own right.1

Three, on the idea of focusing efforts on elections in 2018 and 2020. First, there is nothing guaranteeing that the Republicans will not use racist gerrymanders and ballot disqualifications to feed into the advantage already given to them by the Constitution.2 So while people are drawn off into the electoral processes of 2018 and 2020, there will be nothing to stop the horrors against all the people and groups under the gun of the Trump/Pence regime from not just continuing but almost certainly intensifying. The regime will be compelled by its own logic, the logic of fascism, to double down on their triad of white supremacy, male supremacy and America First chauvinism. The breakneck destruction of the environment and the violence being done to the rule of law—not to mention the culture—will continue as it has now. Indeed, the very dynamic we see today—where Trump, unable to pass legislation, uses the vast executive powers already available to the president to launch offensives on these fronts as part of feeding red meat to the fascist hordes he’s cultivated and unleashed—will very likely intensify.

This does not mean that Trump has it all sewn up, nor that the divisions that do exist at the top cannot become part of what ends up removing this regime. But this will not happen unless millions take the streets in a sustained, nonviolent movement. This makes it more, not less, urgent to demand that the nightmare end NOW, and that the regime be driven from power; more, not less, important for people to take up and get into or unite with Refuse Fascism.

Why Democrats Are a Flypaper Trap for Anyone Who Hates This Regime

“If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.”
Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:12

Ask yourself—at a time when people who are outright fascists themselves like W. and Corker are criticizing Trump’s foreign policy as reckless, what prominent or even not-so-prominent Democratic politician has done anything close to that?  If you said none, you’d be right. We are talking about someone threatening World War 3, and they are saying nothing!!

And let’s look at WHO they have and will have you supporting. Take this guy Northam, who won the Virginia election. Northam voted for George W. Bush twice—that is, not just in 2000, when it was plain that Bush was running as a standard-bearer for the Christian fascism which had already revealed itself as an extremely malignant force, but in 2004 after Bush’s outrageous war against Iraq, after Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, after Afghanistan, after Bush’s administration had begun its threats to go to war with Iran, and after the Patriot Act, probably the most repressive piece of legislation in U.S. history. Northam, now hailed as the new great standard-bearer of diversity, could not bring himself to stammer out an endorsement of the removal of monuments to the southern Civil War murderers—to those who carried out slaughter in upholding slavery—nor would he call out his opponent’s incredibly vicious and racist campaign for what it was: a vicious, racist, fascist campaign. And this is the kind of person you’re going to put your hopes in? Yet this is clearly where Pelosi and Schumer want to go—and this is the whole logic of the Dems.

The Democrats are one of the two ruling parties of the imperialist system. They differ with Trump on how best to serve that system, and this sets the parameters of what they will—and will NOT—criticize him for. Right now, they are moving to siphon the resistance to Trump off into strengthening their party, to put some constraints on Trump with the various investigations being launched, and to confine the terms to certain domestic issues. If there is a massive movement in the streets, some of the contradictions that they do in fact have with Trump may come into play... but they would even then try to constrain things. Without a massive movement clear on its goal, this will go nowhere... and worse.

I won’t here try to go further into this. I will say that the “why” of all this is deeply covered in Bob Avakian’s new talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America—A Better World IS Possible, as well as in the films REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, and the essay “Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces For Revolution.”

The point of all this is that, as Refuse Fascism has reiterated, the people in their millions must end the nightmare.

 


1. These measures included the government’s “right” to try those they deemed terrorists in military trials where defendants are afforded fewer rights; the indefinite isolation of prisoners without charges in the torture chamber of Guantánamo; the use of torture, vastly expanded government powers to legally spy on people, right down to the library books they took out, as well as the right to legally forbid people from even saying that they had been spied upon or were enlisted in spying upon others. [back]

2. The Constitution, as a document originally written to protect the power of the slaveholders, gave extra political weight to rural areas and sparsely populated states in determining representation in a concession to those slave-holders, and that legacy lives on today—which is why not only did Trump get elected while losing the popular vote, but Democrats in many states as well as the country as a whole can and do consistently outpoll the Republicans but end up with fewer seats and less power. [back]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

by Bob Avakian

 

 

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

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

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

September 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

by Bob Avakian

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/refuting-the-biggest-lies-against-communism-number-4-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Setting the Record Straight on Communism and Socialist Revolution

REFUTING THE BIGGEST LIES AGAINST COMMUNISM

November 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Lie #4: Communism is a form of totalitarianism. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin sought to impose total domination over society—through repression that invaded every aspect of society and individual life, and mind-manipulative ideology.

The theory of “totalitarianism” equates communism with fascism…the dictatorship of the proletariat with fascist rule…and Stalin with Hitler. This is a grotesque misrepresentation of reality. The Soviet Union when it was socialist (from 1917 until the mid-1950s) and Nazi Germany (1932-45) were polar opposites in all key aspects: in their economic foundations; political and social structures; aims and outlook of leadership; guiding ideologies; in the actual ways these societies functioned…and in the lived experience of the individuals making up these societies.

The theory of totalitarianism traffics in gross lies and distortions of the methods and goals, and the real history and experience, of communist revolution. It detaches Nazi Germany from its capitalist underpinnings. And it pathetically worships at the feet of liberal-democratic imperialism as the highest and furthest human society can and should go—prettifying its monstrous crimes and inhumanity, and the savage exploitation of hundreds of millions at the base of this system.

The most influential “scholarly” work proposing the theory of “totalitarianism” is Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. The powerful critique of Arendt by Bob Avakian in Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? provides essential understanding for why this theory is unscientific and the agenda it serves.

The main target of “totalitarian” theory is in fact communism. And this theory’s main ideological function is to distort and demonize communist revolution and reconcile people to this world of horrors.

Reality Check #1—Different origins and systems of class rule of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

*The socialist Soviet Union was the outcome of a mass revolution bound up with the horrific death and destruction of World War 1 and a highly oppressive and repressive society that millions were in revolt against. The October Revolution of 1917, led by the Bolshevik (communist) Party, overthrew the old capitalist-imperialist ruling class/elites; and the ensuing civil war of 1918-20 shattered their remaining political-military power. The revolution created new governing structures—the dictatorship of the proletariat—that empowered the formerly oppressed and exploited, in alliance with the great majority of society, to take ever greater responsibility for the running of society. And the new socialist system spurred radical social-cultural transformation and ferment.   

*Hitler and the Nazi vision of a resurgent, revengeful, and “racially pure” imperial Germany emerged out of German defeat in World War 1 in 1918. Hitler built up a mass racist and reactionary social base through the 1920s. His program ultimately gained the backing of sections of the traditional German capitalist-imperialist ruling class. Nazi rule was erected on the foundations of developed German industrial-finance capitalism. And Hitler united the reigning economic-military elites behind a project to make Germany the great and dominant imperial power of the world. Fascist rule deprived people of minimal rights, creating categories of undesirables, and carrying out savage persecution and control—moving first against communists!

Reality Check #2—Two utterly different economic systems

*The revolution in the Soviet Union led to history’s first planned socialist economy. Unlike capitalism, it operated according to the principle of production for social need, not profit in command—providing for the material and cultural needs of the people and bringing workers and peasants into positions of responsibility. Resources were allocated in a conscious and planned way to develop an all-around economy. The Soviet economic system was not driven, nor did it seek, to expand and exploit globally, or to colonize peoples and regions. The new Soviet Union recognized the right of self-determination and aided and supported the struggles of peoples colonized and dominated by imperialism.

*The German economy under Hitler maintained and enforced the system of capitalist ownership and control and exploitation of wage labor—and was transformed into a predatory militarized economy. The German imperialist state sought to gain control of the resources and labor of vast stretches of Europe and beyond: through annexation, war, and plunder.   

Reality Check #3—Emancipating humanity vs. tightening the chains of oppression

A. Women in Soviet and Nazi society

*The Nazi program for women was one of total subordination. The Nazis pushed women out of the workforce and sought to turn them into compliant breeders and mothers for the fatherland. “Kitchen, children, church” was the slogan. The Nazi “role model” projected in state propaganda, in the educational system, and culture was the “Aryan” male: the patriarch and racial warrior.   

*The Soviet revolution stood for the liberation of women. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Soviet society was challenging traditional gender roles and customs enslaving women, including Sharia law. Abortion was legalized and made widely available—as was the right to divorce. Never before had a society made the uprooting of women’s oppression such a focus. Women joined the labor force in the greatest numbers in history—with childcare and nursery facilities provided. Great efforts were put into improving post-natal care for minority nationalities.

In the mid-1930s, however, the government saw the need to stabilize society as the threat of war grew. Certain radical social measures were reversed and abortion banned. This was a grievous retreat, though women continued to play a major role in political, economic, and cultural life.

B. Racial purity vs. multinational/multi-ethnic equality

*The Nazis aimed to establish the rule of the so-called German “master race” over Europe and the East. Only “racially fit” Germans were deemed suitable to reproduce. Nazi social policy aimed to eliminate “inferior” Germans (the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, homosexuals, and “a-socials”) through sterilization and denial of medical treatment. And the Nazi racial state ultimately embarked on a program of genocidal extermination of the Jewish people in Germany and Europe, along with other ethnic and national groups. Hitler propagated the imaginary conspiracy of Bolshevism/communism and the Jewish people, and sought the elimination of both.

*The socialist Soviet Union was the world’s first multinational state based on equality. It valued and promoted ethnic diversity. It waged campaigns against “great-Russian chauvinism.” It created autonomous regions where minority nationalities previously forbidden from using their own languages in schools and official political life could now do so—and local, indigenous leadership was fostered. Minority cultures flourished. Soviet scientists and educators worked to explode the myth of “backward” and “superior” races. Nowhere else in the world was this going on—least of all the U.S., where segregation and white supremacy were the law of the land and lynching against Blacks rampant; and Jews were subjected to discrimination.

The Soviet Union put an end to the persecution of the Jewish people. And, please Mr./Ms. Totalitarian, the Soviet Union was the only fucking country in World War 2 that actively sought to save the lives of massive numbers of Jewish people. In Eastern Europe, where the Red Army in World War 2 marched, Jews were protected; where the Nazi military marched, Jews faced genocide. Fact: 200,000 Polish Jews escaped the German Holocaust when they came under the control of the Soviet Union in 1940.

Reality Check #4: There were no “death camps” in the Soviet Union.

In 1936-38, as the threat of massive imperialist attack on the Soviet Union was growing, the socialist state launched police operations to prevent counterrevolution. The target of these campaigns became too broad, rights were violated, and many innocent people were arrested and executed. (We will have more to say about the reasons and lessons in a separate installment on Stalin.) But there were no “death” or “extermination” camps in the Soviet Union. The claim that “millions” were executed by Stalin is pure myth. No ethnic group was targeted for elimination. And no nationality was singled out for mass imprisonment (as is the case for African-Americans in the U.S. today).    

Reality Check #5: And who in fact played the decisive role in defeating Hitler?

One rather glaring problem with totalitarian theory’s equating of Hitler and Stalin is that it cannot really account for the fact that the socialist Soviet Union and capitalist-imperialist Nazi Germany were locked in mortal antagonism. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, in a war of conquest and destruction on a scale unseen before in human history—with Hitler making it clear to his troops that they were to discard every principle of humanity for a war of total annihilation. The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Nazi war machine. And under Stalin’s leadership, the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet people not only courageously beat back this onslaught but played the decisive role in defeating Hitler in World War 2—at a cost of some 26 million Soviet lives, including 11 million soldiers.

Reality Check #6: Two different modes of thinking

Communism is a science. It is internationalist. It requires the rational-scientific investigation and understanding of reality. It aims to transform reality, to bring a world free of exploitation and all oppression into being—based on the real-world potential to forge such a world and the conscious struggle of oppressed humanity and all who aspire to such a world. Whereas…

The Nazi outlook was based on concepts of German “blood and soil,” racial purity, male supremacy, hatred and contempt for critical thinking, and out-and-out irrationalism.

To conclude…

The theory of totalitarianism is intellectually hollow and empirically impoverished. It is influential bullshit that does great harm. The charge of “totalitarianism” leveled against communism—that communism is a “utopian ideal turned madness”—is a critical element in the bourgeois ideological arsenal that declares: Stay away from communist revolution, don’t aspire to a radically different and better world, don’t  try to change people’s values and thinking for the better. It will only make things nightmarishly worse. Long live the status quo.

Recommended Readings

*Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? by Bob Avakian, 1986. Especially Chapter 6, section: “The Theory of Totalitarianism and Its Political Role.”

*Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, and What It’s All About, Session 3 Is Communism Totalitarianism?” A film of talk by Bob Avakian, 2003, www.revolutiontalk.net

*You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future, an interview with Raymond Lotta, 2014, www.revcom.us and www.thisiscommunism.org

*Three Alternative Worlds, by Bob Avakian, December 3, 2006, www.revcom.us

 

 


 

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Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

American Crime

AMERICAN CRIME Case #54: The Guantánamo Torture Chamber

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

The Crime:

In January 2002, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush’s administration established the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp on the Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba. For the last 15 years and continuing today, Guantánamo has functioned as a torture center, where hundreds have been sent after having been illegally detained, held indefinitely, and tortured.*

Guantánamo was set up under the authority given Bush by Congress under the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists” law passed on September 14, 2001. It gave Bush broad powers to prosecute a “war on terror”—to essentially act with impunity to protect what the president determined to be “America’s interests”. Bush then signed a military order on November 13, 2001, the “Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism,” to allow detainment and trial of “unlawful enemy combatants” by military commissions under presidential authority alone. Soon hundreds of men around the world, anyone the U.S. or its allies suspected as a target of its “war on terror” as well as many others, were seized and detained in this prison indefinitely for years, without trials or even charges, hearings or access to the legal system in most cases. This was a war crime in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law.

All told, about 780 men, of 50 different nationalities, have been brought to Guantánamo since January 2002. The Bush administration claimed that most of the men had been captured fighting in Afghanistan, but studies have shown that the great majority (perhaps over 80 percent) “...were captured not by Americans on the battlefield but by Pakistanis and Afghans, often in exchange for bounty payments.” The U.S. widely distributed leaflets in the region offering $5,000 or more per prisoner. By May 2011, 600 detainees had been released after years of detention, most of them without any charges, or transferred to facilities in their home countries. Department of Defense-released data indicate that most detainees were low-level offenders who were not affiliated with organizations on U.S. terrorist lists. In 2010, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stated in an affidavit that top U.S. officials—including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld—had known that the majority of the detainees initially sent to Guantánamo were innocent but they were held anyway.

At Guantánamo and elsewhere, the U.S. legally justified and created new “enhanced interrogation techniques” (commonly considered by most of the international community to be torture).

The case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Slahi had fought alongside the al-Qaida Afghanistan insurrection against their Russian invaders in the 1980s but had renounced the group in the 1990s. In November 2001, he voluntarily submitted for questioning at the local police station in his home town of Nouakchott, Mauritania. He was quickly whisked off to a U.S.-arranged Jordanian “rendition” (forced transport) flight which took him to a prison in Amman, Jordan, where he was held and tortured for seven-and-a-half months.

Slahi was then secretly sent briefly to Bagram prison in Afghanistan and quickly on to Guantánamo. There he underwent a couple of years of aggressive “enhanced interrogation techniques,” before finally being released without charge in 2016—14 years after his initial detention.

Slahi details his experience in his 2005 book Guantánamo Diary, written while he was imprisoned, including the horrific torture and abuses he suffered especially during his first two years or so there. He identifies Richard Zuley, notorious 30-year Chicago police lieutenant known for using various torture techniques to obtain confessions, as one of his interrogators. Slahi described extreme isolation for months, extreme sleep deprivation with three shifts of interrogators for 20 out of 24 hours a day for 70 days. He was kept in a “frozen room” for hours on end, sometimes nude, sometimes doused with water, forced to drink salt water, shackled in stress positions, and sexually assaulted. He was bombarded with loud music and strobe lights, and repeatedly beaten. He suffered many death threats, and Zuley also threatened to arrest or capture his mother and bring her back to the “all-male” Guantánamo prison which he interpreted as a rape and death threat.

Most of his charges are corroborated by the U.S. government’s own reports and documents describing many similar accounts, and that Slahi’s torture was planned and approved at the highest levels.

The abuse and torture at Guantánamo, massaged by new “official definitions” of these words, were standard operating policy and procedure permitted by the highest levels of the Bush and Obama governments.

Nine men have died while in custody at Guantánamo, six of whom the Department of Defense claims were suicides, although there is certainly evidence of aggressive torture-induced homicides at Guantánamo as well as the U.S. prison at Bagram in Afghanistan.

The case of the simultaneous triple “suicides” of three detainees at Guantánamo on June 9, 2006. Salah Ahmed al-Salami from Yemen was 37, Mani Shaman al-Utaybi from Saudi Arabia was 30, and Yasser Talal al-Zahrani from Saudi Arabia was 22, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at age 17.

None of the three men had been charged with a crime, but all had participated in hunger strikes to protest the conditions and abuse at the prison (along with many other prisoners, some who were then further tortured through force-feeding). Hours after their deaths, the commander of the Guantánamo Naval Forces, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, announced to the media that the three detainees had hanged themselves. This conclusion was quickly upheld by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). However, at least three independent investigative bodies raised serious questions about the official “suicide” conclusions, and produced evidence that suggested the three prisoners died of torture and their deaths were being covered up as suicides.

A recently released (2016) book by Joseph Hickman, staff sergeant who was on duty in Guantánamo on June 9, 2002, extensively documents his conclusion that the U.S. government was using Guantánamo not just as a prison, but as a training ground for interrogators to test advanced torture techniques.

Currently 41 men are still detained at Guantánamo—men who the U.S. government claims are “too difficult to successfully prosecute but too dangerous to release.” At least in some cases, the U.S. may be refusing to release them for fear they would publicly disclose how they were abused and tortured in Guantánamo.

In sum, the U.S. prison at Guantánamo violated the Geneva Conventions protections for prisoners of war, including against indefinite detention without trial or charges and the use of a whole variety of physical and psychological techniques (generally considered torture by the world community) to get information, to punish, or simply to silence. All these constitute serious crimes against humanity.

The Criminals:

President George W. Bush and his administration (especially Dick Cheney, vice president, Alberto Gonzalez, White House counsel and then attorney general, and Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense), which played a major role in illegally establishing the prison at the Guantánamo Naval Base and in the several-year process of broadening the chief executive powers, and especially redefining prisoners taken in the “war on terror” as “unlawful enemy combatants” (not “prisoners of war”) and removing legal rights and protections against abuse and torture of those prisoners.

John Choon Yoo, deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, and John Scott Bybee, then assistant attorney general, both of whom authored the torture memos and provided legal opinions that facilitated attempts to legitimize the “war on terror” and violations of the Geneva Conventions including indefinite detention without habeas corpus, enhanced interrogation techniques, and systematic torture.

President Barack Obama and his administration (especially John Brennan, director of the CIA, and Eric Holder, attorney general). Obama called Guantánamo a “sad chapter in American history” and repeatedly promised to close it down within a year of taking office. But he backed off in the face of congressional opposition and his commitment to maintaining legitimacy in the “war on terror.” In fact, Obama actually continued many of the same policies and practices, and declined to prosecute those in the U.S. government responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity widely and even openly practiced during the previous decade.

Multiple circuit and district court judges, as well as Supreme Court justices, who worked to justify restricting fundamental civil and human rights in order to advance the “war on terror.”

Rear Admiral Harry Harris and leading officials of the NCIS, Defense Department, and Justice Department who abetted and participated in the elaborate cover-up of crimes against humanity that resulted in the homicides of prisoners detained at Guantánamo.

Congress, which authorized the sweeping powers Bush invoked to create Guantánamo, refused to act against the illegal indefinite detention and torture there, and since then has consistently refused to close down this torture chamber.

The Alibi:

Protecting the American people was the key justification for the U.S. “war on terror” and the use of new “gloves off” policies, laws, and practices including illegal and indefinite detention, rendition, and torture.

The Bush administration also claimed that since those it was sweeping up were “unlawful enemy combatants,” not “prisoners of war,” and because Guantánamo was not part of the U.S., U.S. law did not apply. For these reasons, “rendering” people to Guantánamo and other countries for interrogation, indefinitely detaining them without charge or trial, ignoring the Geneva Conventions, and redefining what constituted torture and introducing “enhanced interrogation techniques,” meant that all could be considered appropriate actions.

Alberto Gonzalez, White House counsel, declared in 2004, “The president has given no order or directive that would immunize from prosecution anyone engaged in conduct that constitutes torture. All interrogation techniques actually authorized have been carefully vetted, are lawful, and do not constitute torture.”

The Actual Motive:

The attacks of September 11, 2001 by reactionary Islamic fundamentalists were a serious jolt to the U.S. imperialist rulers, because their “homeland” had come under attack and because it demonstrated that the Islamic fundamentalists and jihadists represented a serious challenge to U.S. domination of the Middle East and Central Asia regions. With the eyes of the world watching, the U.S. imperialist rulers felt the need to respond with a massive show of force and ruthless, no-holds-barred determination—to fill the enemy with terror, and demonstrate “shock and awe” that would command respect and fear of the the U.S.’s determination and enormous power. They needed to punish the jihadists and totally crush, militarily and politically, this bold challenge to their leadership in the current world order.

They also aimed to broadly terrorize people in the regions the Islamic jihadists operated in and divide them from the jihadists. So they proceeded to round up anyone even remotely suspected of supporting the jihadists—as well as masses of people randomly. They threw them into prison indefinitely, torturing and interrogating them, to demonstrate to the world (and to the American people as well) how barbaric they could get against ANYONE who opposed them.

To try to avoid worsening the image of the U.S., this required new laws and new definitions of prisoners of war and of torture, and the establishment of the prison on Guantánamo to detain, interrogate, and punish prisoners captured in the now newly named “war on terror.” These crimes against humanity were also a way to “change the rules”—to redefine how the U.S. is to be looked at both internationally and domestically, hoping to train sections of the people to embrace brutal bellicosity and arbitrary dispensing of law and justice as the “new normal.”


* The right of the U.S. to lease part of Cuba to set up the Guantánamo Naval Base had been forced onto Cuba after Spain was defeated in the Spanish-American War of 1898. But the treaty agreement stipulated that the leased land was to be used “...as coaling or naval stations only, and for no other purpose...” (emphasis added). So using the base to operate a prison for terror suspects and others was illegal in the first place. [back]

 

Sources

American Crime: Case #59: The U.S. Invasion, Occupation, Domination, and Plunder of Cuba: 1898 to 1959,” Revolution newspaper, October 2, 2017

Guantánamo Bay detention camp, Wikipedia

Interview with Larry Siems, Editor of Guantánamo Diary,” transcript of the Michael Slate Show February 13, 2015, published in Revolution newspaper, February 23, 2015

Bush on a Mission to Legalize Torture,” Revolution newspaper, September 24, 2006

“The Guantánamo ‘Suicides’: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle”; Scott Horton in Harper’s Magazine, March 2010

“Uncovering the Cover-Ups: Death in Camp Delta”; Mark Denbeaux et al.; Seton Hall University School of Law: Center for Policy and Research, May 2014 (available online)

 “Exposed at Abu Ghraib: Torture of U.S. Rule”; Revolutionary Worker #1240, May 16, 2004

The Brutal Logic Behind the Torture Madness”; Revolution newspaper, June 121, 2005

Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay; Joseph Hickman, 2016

“Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques”; Brian Knowlton; New York Times, April 21, 2009 (referring to the Senate Armed Services Committee Report released 2009)

“U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command” report leaked to New York Times as reported by Tim Golden, May 20, 2005, and May 22, 2005

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/open-letter-from-alianza-nacional-de-campesinas-to-women-of-hollywood-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Open Letter from Alianza Nacional de Campesinas to Women of Hollywood

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

First published November 10

Dear Sisters,

We write on behalf of the approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States. For the past several weeks we have watched and listened with sadness as we have learned of the actors, models and other individuals who have come forward to speak out about the gender-based violence they’ve experienced at the hands of bosses, coworkers and other powerful people in the entertainment industry. We wish that we could say we’re shocked to learn that this is such a pervasive problem in your industry. Sadly, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well. Countless farmworker women across our country suffer in silence because of the widespread sexual harassment and assault that they face at work.

We do not work under bright stage lights or on the big screen. We work in the shadows of society in isolated fields and packinghouses that are out of sight and out of mind for most people in this country. Your job feeds souls, fills hearts and spreads joy. Our job nourishes the nation with the fruits, vegetables and other crops that we plant, pick and pack.

Even though we work in very different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security. Like you, there are few positions available to us and reporting any kind of harm or injustice committed against us doesn’t seem like a viable option. Complaining about anything—even sexual harassment—seems unthinkable because too much is at risk, including the ability to feed our families and preserve our reputations.

We understand the hurt, confusion, isolation and betrayal that you might feel. We also carry shame and fear resulting from this violence. It sits on our backs like oppressive weights. But, deep in our hearts we know that it is not our fault. The only people at fault are the individuals who choose to abuse their power to harass, threaten and harm us, like they have harmed you.

In these moments of despair, and as you cope with scrutiny and criticism because you have bravely chosen to speak out against the harrowing acts that were committed against you, please know that you’re not alone. We believe and stand with you.

In solidarity,

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas is an organization comprised of current and former farmworker women, along with women who hail from farmworker families.

First published in Time Magazine

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/metoo-march-against-sexual-assault-on-hollywood-boulevard-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

#MeToo March on Hollywood Boulevard Against Sexual Assault

November 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

from a reader

Sunday morning, Hollywood Boulevard, saw a unique and welcome sight: hundreds of people, mainly but not only women, marching in a #MeToo solidarity march which joined with a “Take Back the Workplace” march.  There were a diverse range of people and organizations there in a defiant spirit: “we’ve had enough!”

This was exposing sexual assault in the workplace, with a large representation from the Hollywood industry and against sexual assault and violence against women everywhere. 

When asked what brought them out into the streets, most women told their own stories of sexual assault: “I was raped when I was a teenager,” “I’ve been sexually assaulted too,” “I just can’t take it any more.” 

The march was made up of several prominent actors, people in the film industry, in addition to high school students, long time activists, and people who were marching for the first time.  Many women carried signs testifying to their experiences of sexual assault: “I was 7 #MeToo” and “Me Too. You know who you are.”  A group of high school students carried a powerful trio of signs: “Slut is attacking women for their right to say yes,” “Friend zone is attacking women for their right to say no,” “Bitch is attacking women for their right to call you on it.” Another woman had cut-out felt hands on all the parts of her body she’d been grabbed or assaulted “Josh, actor, 1993,” “Larry, director of production, 2015” and more.  A man held a sign, “I’m here for my mother and stepmother #ThemToo.”

One woman told me she’d been silent about it her whole life, but now feels like it’s ok to speak out, that she’s not alone.  One of the mothers of the high school students with the trio of signs said they really worked on them, and discussed together what they wanted to say.  Several people commented on the sexual predator in the White House and how deeply embedded patriarchy is in this society. 

There was anger, energy and togetherness.  Significantly, a group of women farmworkers from Alianza Nacional de Campesinas read from their open letter of support to women in Hollywood, connecting their experience of sexual assault by men who hold control over your jobs and lives. 

Like a breath of fresh air, there was defiance.  In one conversation, a woman told me about how hard it’s been to see how many women are impacted—just the sheer magnitude is staggering.  She started to talk about how many women have been “made victims” and then stopped herself.  “No” she said, “that gives them too much power.  This won’t break us.” 

There were different answers about where this is all coming from, with some people putting forward the need for a change in policy and others talking about the need to change the culture.  People were open to learning more about revolution and everyone wanted to connect it up to the struggle to drive out this regime.  There was a visceral anger for Trump. 

The Revolution Club, Los Angeles led people in chants and had all kinds of discussion with people, distributing Revolution newspaper, palm cards for Bob Avakian’s new talk, and materials about Refuse Fascism

As I was leaving the rally, I saw a woman who had a sign pinned to her baby’s carrier: “Hopefully #MeNever”

That’s on all of us to make real.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/michael-slate-interview-with-the-red-dress-players-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Michael Slate Interview

The Red Dress: Standing Against Nazism

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

The following are excerpts from a November 17, 2017 Michael Slate interview with playwright Tania Wisbar and actor Laura Liguori.

Michael Slate: I recently saw a play that I’ve been thinking about and talking about ever since, one of the most powerful plays I’ve seen so far this year. It was about something that I think everybody should be thinking about. The play itself is called The Red Dress and it’s really an incredibly important play so today I’m very pleased to be talking with playwright Tania Wisbar and actor Laura Liguori. I’m going to jump right into this because there is so much to talk about. Maybe what we’ll do is we’ll start with you, Tania. Describe the play.

Tania Wisbar: The Red Dress is about, it actually started with a question which I had very, very young, because I grew up in Germany. I was born in Germany and because I didn’t know very much about my family because my mother, who was a single parent at that time, really never talked about the past, never talked about that she’d been married to a very prominent German film director, my father, Frank Wisbar. He had used her connections when she was in Germany, she grew up in a prominent German film family and through her, he became a very prominent and well-known German film director. Then the Nazis came to power and he made films for the Nazis and my mother was Jewish. She was followed by the Gestapo all the time, pressuring her to divorce him and to leave. She didn’t do that; actually she stood up and fought the Nazis through radio and her own public image, which was a pretty strong one.

The question that started the play was really how does a civilized country, small, incremental steps at a time, begin to accept the notion that other people are not equal, have no rights, and can ultimately be murdered, slaughtered by the millions? So that was the question. I began to look at the one period that people don’t really look at very seriously and it is the most serious part of that century, what set up World War 2 and the Holocaust and the Nazis? So the play is time-framed between 1924 (the end of WW 1) and as Hitler comes to power but the play stops in 1936 because I did not want this to be a Holocaust play, but I wanted it very much to focus on what causes the loss of democracy.

We’re watching that, I hate to say, in the United States, it’s now a question of step by step by step—are we losing our way altogether or can we redeem ourselves and our reverence for democratic principles where we are all equal?

Michael Slate: Now, one more question here because actually as I understand it, before you did this play, there was something that happened in relation to you discovering some material that your mother had written that actually sort of, turned on big lights in your head.

Tania Wisbar: Yes, it was an absolute shock because my sister and I, she’s two years older than I am, and we were pretty well grown up without much of a history, we didn’t know that our mother was Jewish, we didn’t have any religious background; we didn’t have any network that we belonged to. In 1999 I was living in Los Angeles and I got a Sunday morning call; it was a very heavy male German voice at the other end saying, “Are you Tania Wisbar?” and I said, “Yes”―not too happily because I have gotten some weird calls over the years. And he said, “I’m a German research professor and I’m now at Harvard University Library basement and I just found an 88-page manuscript your mother wrote in 1939.” This was in 1999, so it had been there 60 years and my mother had passed away by then and he said, “Would you like me to fly out and bring it to you?” I said yes; I wasn’t absolutely sure of what was next so he did come and he brought the manuscript. It answered every question I had ever had about my parents and the erosion of their marriage due to the Nazification of the German film industry, which my father for a while worked making films for the Nazis. That was just a huge blow.

Michael Slate: Yeah, I can imagine. Is that why it took you so long to decide to make the play? Because maybe people would bug you about it and you’d say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll talk about it later,” and then 15 years later you make the film.

[Tania Wisbar laughs]

Tania Wisbar: Actually the only person who ever bugged me was Jonathan Sanger because he was my partner on Birthday Present 2050, which is a cheerless, dystopian play. Instead, The Red Dress, which is a romantic story set against the rise of a tyranny. But I did read it finally, the manuscript, and it was fortunately in German, which I don’t read that well, so it was a little bit of a buffer. I couldn’t read it all, so I didn’t have to take it all in; I could hide a little bit from what it was revealing. And I knew I would have to write about it at some point so I did think about it, but I didn’t have to think about it for 15 years. Then I realized I really had to write it so I had to get ready psychologically and the odd thing is that it did such emotional damage even though I thought I’d thought about it enough, but I hadn’t. There’s no way to write about so tragic a period in history and your own family. You think you know your family? Well if you write about them or start to you will find out you don’t know your family at all. It’s just a shock. So instead of trying to adapt my parents, Eva Wisbar and Frank Wisbar, I used them to derive the characters of Alexandra Schiele and Franz Weitrek. I was very lucky in the casting of Laura as Alexandra because I think she’s just wonderful.

Michael Slate: And now we’ll go over to Laura because I have to agree, I was just mesmerized by your performance in the play. I thought it was really remarkable. And it’s a hard one because when you go into the play and you’re thinking OK, now I’m watching this play about this Nazi that gets married to this woman but you’re sort of like, where do I go with this? I thought you brought home something that was really important; you brought home a lot of the humanity in the play, which was, from the very moment that you stepped onto the stage and the interaction you have with the various people at that point, and then all the way through I thought you brought a lot of really necessary humanity into it.

Laura Liguori: It helps that my character is based on Tania’s mother, so it’s a real person. I derive a lot of my choices from the strength that I can feel from her mother, what she had to actually go through and up against and fight for. People who are strong like that tend to have huge hearts and strength really comes from love. There is an aspect of my character that is incredibly loving and wants to have a family despite all of this around her, wants to create life even though things are falling apart.

Michael Slate: Yeah, it’s important. But there’s also something here that really got me. There is something there that thematically was very important: the times seems so normal. We have the advantage of being out of that history, way back from it, we can look back. But even doing that you’re sitting there and you’re going I know the Nazis, I know what they meant in the world, they did all this other stuff but when you present it the way it’s presented, it’s actually so normal. Like your character is very normal in the relationship with the man and in her life and her career and everything else. It’s really normal and yet what you’ve done, setting it the way you’ve done it, is everybody knows that the background is the Nazis are gearing up to do terrible things in the world. I thought that was really important the way that you played that—it was very, very sort of systematically normal.

Tania Wisbar: I think it was absolutely a challenge for me as the playwright, to make it all look normal because if you weren’t the target of hatred, for you, you could still live a perfectly normal life. Of course the German people did continue to live a normal life until, in my mother’s manuscript there’s a wonderful line; she said, “They build a fence through which no Jew could get at the end but it turned out they were all imprisoned inside their own fence.” Because all the passports were taken away from military age boys and men. When Hitler first came to power he had a Hitler Youth Movement, we all know that, and the German boys were allowed to go to Switzerland and to Austria and all that. But as the Nazis totally controlled what happened to the children, they were no longer allowed out except in uniform. So normalcy does not belong in any country where war is being created or hatred is given room to grow. And we’re watching that here and I think we are all quite terrified though we’re still going around normally and going to shop, right? We’re driving our cars or complaining about the traffic in Los Angeles but it doesn’t mean that we are safe. We’re just not safe.

Michael Slate: Yeah, that’s a very important point. I was thinking about that very deeply after seeing the play and then reading some stuff around it, too. One thing I’d ask you, Laura, there’s a point in the play where you’re confronting your husband and it’s clear that there’s been this crackdown, it’s sort of the way that fascism develops, they do something hard then they back up a little bit and let people get used to it; then they do something hard again. Something had just happened, and the two of you were in a room and there’s a point where he’s telling you that you have to wear this dress, you have to do this, you have to do that, he makes a comment about some other grouping of people that was clearly Nazi rhetoric, and you had this look on your face and I don’t know whether it was written this way or you just did it this way because it was brilliant. You had this look that was like you stopped and it was just sort of this quizzical but also very horrified look on your face because it seemed like there was a realization that your husband was going in a really wrong direction.

Laura Liguori: Well, there are many moments that I feel that that actually happen in the play, and it happens more and more each performance, I notice that this underlying current is there sooner and sooner each performance for me because I guess I’m just picking up on little things that even the actor, J. B. Waterman, is doing that makes me very uncomfortable, the character uncomfortable on stage. In one specific part when he asks me to help him with his tie and in the mirror reflection I see that his bow tie has the swastikas on it and that’s just horrible. My character fell in love with a man that she believed was her soulmate and she watches him basically sell out his own core beliefs so that he can make films. So yeah, it’s devastating, that part.

Tania Wisbar: Writing the play, particularly the character of her husband, Franz, that was such a challenge because I really patterned it after my father and he did make films before the Nazis in Germany, during the Nazis, and then after he had made it to the United States, not as a refugee as we came, my mother and sister and I, we were refugees; he wasn’t. He just came. Then it turned out the U.S. Senate wanted to hear his opinion about glider, starting a glider program for the United States Air Force. But when I first wrote him, he was so horrible, I realized nobody in the audience would sit still for that, so I had to really work to find him redemption, and I do but then I was no longer using him as my role model, either. That is really what allowed the play to finally get finished. If I hadn’t had his real history as a glider pilot in the German First World War, I couldn’t have found any way to end that play so I was very grateful.

Michael Slate: That period... because that period between those early years of the ’30s and the late years of the ’30s was a period, as we were saying, all this stuff is going on but all the people were saying stuff like, “Well my neighbor’s gone, I guess they moved.” Or I’ve read books more recently about how neighbors being driven out and being put on buses and trains and the people would go and loot the apartments, the empty apartments. There was that normalcy that actually really comes through the entire relationship until you make that snap look like—what? What the hell are you talking about? Which I think is really important, the way it’s carried out because you’ve got the audience right there and everybody’s starting to question but then bam, and it doesn’t come until you get that look that sort of says, okay now some stuff is going to start going.

There’s a moment where an ideological question is posed and I thought it was so great and we won’t say what is done, but it involves a very dramatic move by you, Laura, that ideologically really sets things very, very importantly for people. It’s the moment when you actually, basically decide to lay bare what’s there. It was sort of too much, you know? You could have written a character as one that would say yeah, OK, I will just try to get by, I’ll try to sneak by, I’ll try to get myself and get the kids out of the country and do all this other stuff, but there had to be this moment where in the face of terrible inhumanity that one person had to stand up and do one thing.

Laura Liguori: I think that it’s really important that people use their voice and I have always wondered, ever since I was a little girl, I have been really affected by the Holocaust. I wondered how, how does this happen? How does it get to a point where you are killing children? You’re murdering children; you’re asking them to sing as you take them into a gas chamber. How does this even occur? And a few years ago I worked for a not-so-nice woman and I witnessed something happen, an individual, an elderly woman crashed into her wall in Bel Air and I watched my employer and other wealthy neighbors around looking at the crack, the hairline crack on the wall, talking about whose property it was on and insurance things, as this poor woman died. It was then that I realized this is how it happens, the first thing is when you literally just worry about your own self, how everything just affects you, to the point where its all about money and greed and selfishness and your world is about protecting your little bubble. Meanwhile, like, the human beings around you that are suffering, you care not because its not you. And that’s the beginning of how I think it happens.

Tania Wisbar: Well, that’s the whole point really of placing this play exactly between the end of one war and as another one is being planned, so people can keep asking the question “What is this slow slide?” And it’s not abrupt, it is very slow, it’s giving up one right for everybody else at a time. So that’s exactly, I mean, that’s why it stayed, I didn’t let the play go into the Holocaust because we know that story; we’ve seen that story. We think we understand it but frankly we’ll never understand it. There is evil that you can’t understand. Certainly the children, and I grew up with those images and that is probably why it was school for developmentally disabled children and why this play was so important, ultimately.

Michael Slate: Definitely, and that gets the last question I was going to ask you so we’ve already spoken to it, but it is exactly that point. There’s a point where you’re confronted with this horror and you do have to do something, you do have to say or do something. You remind people, there was something I read that you wrote, you remind people that it doesn’t happen in a day, it happens over a period of time and a certain, an advancing willingness of people to turn their face away, and to believe that it’s not really happening and not even care that it’s happening and that’s the big thing because, why I really liked you having it in that time period... everyone knows historically what happened. But what if, the person who―your character, Laura—what if the person that you had written, Tania, imagine if that person... if there had been millions of those people doing what that person did then things would have been different. And we’re confronted with something very, very similar to this today.

Laura Liguori: Yes

Michael Slate: It’s frightening and concerning and we really got to do something about it.

Tania Wisbar: And it’s what we do that remains the question. What do we do?

Michael Slate: Exactly, exactly.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/refuse-fascism-at-pasadena-doo-dah-parade-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Refuse Fascism at Pasadena Doo Dah Parade

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sunday, November 19—Refuse Fascism activists marched in the annual counterculture Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, California, which attracts thousands of parade watchers. They got out the message “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime MUST GO!” Dozens of parade watchers took up the Refuse Fascism posters and held them so others could see.

Refuse Fascism at DooDah parade in Pasadena

Special to revcom.us

Revcom at DooDah parade in Pasadena

Special to revcom.us

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/thousands-of-students-in-dc-and-across-the-country-walk-out-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Thousands of Students in DC and Across the Country Walk Out to Demand:
A New Dream Act Must Be Passed Now!

November 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Students from high schools and colleges in cities across the country walked out of their schools November 9, two months after Trump killed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, demanding that Congress pass a new Dream Act before the end of the year. The focus of the walkouts was Washington, DC, where over a thousand students walked out of school, marched to the Capitol, and stormed the Hart Senate Office Building. In addition to DC, there were walkouts in cities in at least 10 states, including: 250 students who walked out in Salem, Oregon, and hundreds more in Minneapolis, Minnesota; 17 activist organizations at New York University joined the campus “Dream Team” and marched to Union Square; students from four college campuses walked out in San Diego, California; as well as actions in Texas, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

DACA, an Executive Order that President Obama signed in 2012, provided work permits and two years of temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants—now known as “Dreamers”—who had been brought to the U.S. as children. The program allowed Dreamers to renew their DACA status every two years. There are about 800,000 Dreamers, and an estimated 8,000 or more of these young people have already lost their DACA status, and can now be deported at any time.

In DC, undocumented Dreamers and their supporters poured into the Senate Office Building, taking over the indoor courtyard and six floors of balconies overlooking it! They came in silence at first, with fists raised. And then suddenly they filled the building with chants—”Dream Act Now! Dream Act Now!” And “¡Sí se puede! ¡Sí se puede!”

One group of students carried a huge banner into the center of the plaza: “Congress—We Demand a Clean Dream Act Now.” At the same time students, unfurled 20-foot long banners over the balconies reading “Clean Dream Act Now.” The demand for a clean Dream Act means restoring the DACA provisions without linking DACA to passage of border enforcement measures, like funding a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, or refusing to allow refugees escaping from Central American countries to enter the U.S.

After Paul Ryan announced that morning that the Republicans would not consider the urgent situation facing these 800,000 immigrants before the end of the year, the crowd immediately marched on his office, shouting “show your face, we need a clean Dream Act now!”

A common sentiment was expressed by a young woman from Bolivia. “I’m here to stay; we’re not going anywhere, this is my home. I really don’t remember much about Bolivia; I’m not going anywhere.” Police arrested 15 protesters, claiming the students refused their order to stop the chants.

The GW Hatchet, an independent student newspaper at George Washington University in DC, reported that at least eight progressive GW student organizations had come together and organized about 100 students to take part in the walkout and protest. One student told the Hatchet that he had just told his peers that he was an undocumented student. “There are undocumented youth at GW. That’s the most important thing for me. This is not just a Hispanic issue. This is an immigrants issue.” Another student said, “Actively resisting and getting exposure is how to create real change. I’m proud of people who engaged in civil disobedience today.” As the students marched out of the Senate Office Building they chanted:“Undocumented, unafraid!”

This regime has unleashed an unprecedented, fascist war on immigrants, which is intensifying day by day. Two of the top enforcers of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, Sessions and Kelly, are opposed to continuing DACA in any form.

These young Dreamers and hundreds of other people are waging an extremely important movement, at no small risk, to fight against the end ing of DACA, and against attacks on all immigrants. Their actions and their demand for a clean Dream Act must be supported by people everywhere, as well as their example of refusing to wait, or rely on the Democrats to come to their aid. When Schumer and Piglosi, top leaders of the Democratic Party, announced their deal with Trump to support a bill to restore DACA in some way, in return for agreeing to pour billions of dollars into “securing the border,” Dreamers confronted Piglosi in public saying, “We refuse to be used as a bargaining chip.”

Only the movement to end this nightmare by taking to the streets until this fascist regime is driven from power will end the terror that has been unleashed against millions and millions in this country, who have been criminalized solely for being driven to come to this country by the crimes of U.S. imperialism.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/516/experts-say-trump-threatens-nuclear-war-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Trump’s Asia Trip Targets North Korea:

Experts Say Trump Threatens Nuclear War
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

November 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The danger of a major—perhaps nuclear—war between the U.S. and North Korea looms larger every day. According to experts, as well as major figures in both political parties, cited by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (November 4, 2017), the odds of war breaking out soon range from “20 percent” to “50/50.”

Speaking at the UN in September, Donald Trump said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea—a country of 25 million people—if its government refuses to bow to U.S. demands. Later, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham approvingly described Trump’s position: “There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here—and he’s told me that to my face.” Graham told Kristof that if Korea continues to test intercontinental missiles—test, mind you, not use—“war is inevitable.” Republican senator Bob Corker—a former Trump ally—has warned now repeatedly that Trump has put the U.S. on a course toward World War 3.

On the same day as Kristof’s article, an admiral speaking for the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a report to a dozen U.S. congressmen in which the Pentagon stated that the only certain way to wipe out North Korean nuclear capability was through a massive land invasion by U.S. forces.

Now Trump has embarked on a nearly two-week tour of Asia which is again targeting North Korea. On the eve of the trip, national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned that “Our president has been really clear on this. He is not going to permit this rogue regime, Kim Jong-un, to threaten the United States with a nuclear weapon. And so he is willing to do anything necessary to prevent that from happening.” Pause on that for a minute: “do anything.”

At the U.S. military base at Yokota, Japan, Trump told assembled troops: “We dominate the sky, we dominate the sea, we dominate the land and space.... Each of you embodies the warrior creed. Your devotion, prowess and expertise make you the most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.” He promised the troops “a lot more” advanced weaponry, and urged them to “use it well.”

Everybody understood that this speech was a threat against North Korea.

Pro-imperialist pundits claim that Trump’s threats are self-defense, because North Korea’s oppressive Kim Jong-un regime has developed a handful of nuclear weapons, and perhaps an ability to hit the U.S. with them. And for popular consumption, the U.S. paints a picture of Kim as a “lunatic” who would nuke the U.S. just for the hell of it. The U.S. media goes along with this, promoting hysterical fears of North Korean nukes suddenly slamming into Los Angeles.

But in reality the U.S. knows full well that this is bullshit. Speaking of Kim Jong-un at the Aspen Security Conference this past July, Trump’s national intelligence director, Dan Coates, said:

“[O]ur assessment [is that] he’s not crazy. And there is some rationale backing his actions which are survival, survival for his regime, survival for his country, and he has watched I think what has happened around the world relative to nations that possess nuclear capabilities and the leverage they have, and seen that having the nuclear card in your pocket results in a lot of deterrence capability. The lessons that [they] learned out of Libya giving up its nukes and Ukraine giving up [their] nukes is unfortunately if you had nukes, never give them up. If you don’t have them, get them, and we see a lot of nations now thinking about how do we get them and none more persistent than North Korea....” (Emphasis ours)

Again, this is Trump’s own director of national intelligence just matter-of-factly admitting that North Korea has nukes in order to deter a U.S. attack on them, and to be able to stand up to U.S. nuclear bullying and blackmail. And it is exactly that ability to reject complete U.S. domination of the economically and strategically vital Asian region that the U.S. finds “threatening,” NOT the made-up danger of a North Korean first strike.

The “America First” fascists find this unacceptable, and the deaths of millions of Korean people count for NOTHING as long as U.S. interests are advanced. Nor are they deterred by the fact that a war between the U.S. superpower and small and weak North Korea could end up drawing in larger powers with big nuclear arsenals of their own, and threatening the very existence of humanity.

It is highly possible that such a war would start with the U.S. delivering a non-nuclear hit against some element of North Korea’s defense structure and provoke a response. The U.S. would then pose as the victim, and move in to do what Trump so baldly threatened at the UN—the wiping out of an entire country and its people.

If such a horror should happen—and if the rest of humanity should even survive it—what will we answer when future generations demand of us, “What were you doing when Trump’s own people made clear to the world what he was planning? How could you not do everything in your power to prevent it?”

How indeed.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/516/thousands-in-south-korea-protest-trump-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Thousands in South Korea Protest Trump and His War Threats

November 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Watch video of students taking their message to steps of Korea's National Assembly

On Saturday, November 4, at least 5,000 people in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, protested Trump’s visit to South Korea that is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of his 12-day Asia trip. Trump’s plans during his trip include visiting a large U.S. military base—the U.S. has 24,000 troops stationed in South Korea.

Trump and the whole regime—including his generals—continue to ratchet up war threats against North Korea. The whole Korean Peninsula would be ground zero for any outbreak of war, potentially causing hundreds of thousands of deaths in a few days, and even millions if nuclear weapons are used.

In the Saturday protest in Seoul, demonstrators carried banners and posters depicting Trump and saying “No Trump! No war!” Police dragged away students sitting down in protest with signs reading “Dump Trump” in English and Korean. A speaker at the rally said that “South Koreans are trembling with fear of war.” A woman whose son was drafted into the South Korean army said, “My heart stirs at every single word Trump says about North Korea.” A worker said, “I came here to protest because I’m afraid of a war. And if a war breaks out, we all die.” One of the songs sung at the protest had the words “We hate Trump. We love peace. We love equality.”

There were lots of creatively designed protest materials, including big masks of Trump with his mouth wide open, a giant fist with the words “Shut Up” in English, and balloons with pictures of Trump attached. In front of the U.S. embassy, people walked on top of an enlarged American flag on which Trump’s actual threats against North Korea were written: “Fire and Fury,” “Totally Destroy” and “Locked and Loaded.”

A teacher who brought students to the rally had a message for people in the U.S.: “I hope that American citizens pay attention to what’s happening here.”

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/498/what-everybody-knows-about-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews History Professor Bruce Cumings

What "Everybody Knows" about North Korea—and the Real History of U.S. Aggression

July 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Friday, June 30, after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Donald Trump once again threatened North Korea with military aggression: “The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed and frankly, that patience is over.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is an oppressive regime—not a revolutionary socialist state—a reactionary force in the world. For months now, the fascist Trump/Pence regime has threatened it, saying “all options” are on the table if Kim Jong-un does not end the country’s nuclear weapons program. Trump says he wants North Korea to be “dealt with rapidly” and his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says that every option being prepared involves a U.S. military attack. So now there is a real danger of a U.S. military attack, possibly including nuclear weapons, which could lead to the deaths of millions in the region.

The following is from a June 9, 2017 interview with author and professor Bruce Cumings on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The U.S. rulers and media paint North Korea as the aggressor. But as Bruce Cumings reveals, there is a long history of U.S. war, threats and intervention against North Korea.

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

Michael Slate: In your book, Inventing the Axis of Evil, the truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria, you make a point I thought was important for people to understand, which is that the United States terrorized North Korea with nuclear weapons during and after the Korean War, and was the only power to introduce nuclear weapons to Korean soil. So there’s a lot that’s just unknown by people even as the U.S. puts out all this stuff about how the North Koreans are crazy and they’re playing with nukes.

Bruce Cumings: It’s a little bit like the invasion of Iraq in 2003, where most people, including a lot of liberals, accepted the fact that Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator who had WMDs, and there was no real background given; for example, our support of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in the war with Iran.

Then we have a war, and the war goes very badly. It’s still a complete catastrophe. And all this history comes out. And if we were to go to war with North Korea, which has seemed closer under the Trump administration than it has been in some time, all of this would come out about the U.S. running an operation called Hudson Harbor in 1951, where B29s dropped dummy atomic bombs on North Korea to see whether they might be useful against troop concentrations and cities. President Eisenhower, toward the end of the war in May 1953, tested one of the largest atomic bombs ever tested, and also shot the first atomic cannon. And this was all put on the front pages of newspapers, and was intended to bring an end to the war and intimidate North Korea and China. And then as you said, in 1958, we installed hundreds of nuclear weapons, battlefield tactical weapons and short-range warheads on missiles, into South Korea. So we’re the first ones to introduce nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, and kept them there until 1991, when they were withdrawn on a world scale because the Pentagon felt that precision-guided high explosives, but non-nuclear weapons, would cause fewer problems. You wouldn’t have radiation and collateral damage [as you would] from nuclear weapons. So we drew them back.

We drew them back. But you can leave it to Donald Trump to tell you what the North Koreans still face, which is, for example, a Trident submarine, sometimes called Armageddon in one sausage tube. He mentioned that two of our nuclear submarines were off of North Korea last week. This is of course classified information. He’s not supposed to say that. He doesn’t know that. But the fact is that one of our nuclear submarines, or all of them, could run right up to the North Korean coast and obliterate North Korea in a matter of hours.

Colin Powell back in 1995, which should give your listeners an idea of how long this problem has been going on—it’s really 25 years we’ve been dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem—Colin Powell said if they ever used a nuclear weapon in anger, the U.S. would turn North Korea into a charcoal briquette.

I just want to say one more thing about that. If you imagine North Korea as the Green Team against the Blue Team, rather than the Evil Kim Jong-un with his crazy haircut against the always-perfect United States, you can see what they’re up against. It’s a small country, and the largest power in the world is constantly threatening it with nuclear annihilation. President Obama did this too. He routinely sent nuclear-capable B1 and B2 bombers over South Korea for exercises. So it’s a very dangerous situation, and I think it’s incumbent on Americans to put themselves in the shoes of the North Koreans and look at the world that they face, quite apart from all of our media stereotypes about how crazy they are, and how dangerous they are.

Michael Slate: When you want to talk about crazy and dangerous, you say that North Korea would not have had nukes if the U.S. had actually kept its word in the past.

Bruce Cumings: People who follow the situation closely, and high officials in the Clinton administration like Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman, her very close aide on North Korea, have written about this—Bill Clinton nearly struck North Korea with a preemptive attack against their nuclear facility in June 1994. It was only later that people realized, or came to understand, how close we were to a war with North Korea at that time. But Jimmy Carter intervened when he heard about all of this. He flew to Pyongyang and talked directly with Kim Il-sung and got a freeze on all of North Korea’s plutonium.

It’s very important to underline that that freeze was completely monitored and checked for eight years, 24/7. You had UN inspectors on the ground, closed-circuit cameras watching it at all times. The reactors were sealed. And of course we know with our intelligence when a reactor starts up. So there’s no question. The North Koreans didn’t have an ounce of plutonium from 1994 to 2002. However, George W. Bush had already put North Korea in his Axis of Evil in 2002. Then in September he announced his preemptive doctrine, for which the euphemism was “anticipatory self defense.” And North Korea, along with Iran and especially Iraq, were listed as the countries for which this policy was developed. He then went ahead, of course, to invade Iraq in March of 2003, which was really a preventive war rather than anticipatory self-defense. We don’t need to get into this, but Saddam Hussein was actually writing a novel at the time and trying to do everything he could not to provoke the U.S.

After that happened, North Korea just said as openly and loudly as it could, Saddam Hussein didn’t have nuclear weapons. If he had had them, he wouldn’t have been overthrown. That’s not going to happen to us. They got back their plutonium, kicked out the inspectors, and systematically began building atomic weapons, and tested the first one just three years later, in 2006.

I don’t think it’s a partisan judgment, but a factual statement to say that George W. Bush had two enormous catastrophes on his hands. One is the invasion of Iraq, which basically wrecked the Middle East since 2003. And second, he is the primary person responsible for North Korea getting nuclear weapons. And I think many experts believe that. Madeleine Albright has written about that. But it doesn’t get out in the media at all, in part because so many of our people want to say, well, that’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. We’re not to sound partisan.

Michael Slate: One of the things you talk about is that most recently, the use of agreements, etc., have been kicked to the curb, that there’s an assumption that no one has been able to rein in the nuts in North Korea and their nuke program, and it’s time to fight or topple. Let’s talk about that.

Bruce Cumings: People routinely say that North Korea has always cheated and never has kept to its agreements. And I don’t know where they’re coming from because it’s simply not true. In addition to the plutonium agreement, the freeze and the missile deal, North Korea in 2000 also opened relations with many of our allies. So they have diplomatic relations with Canada and Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy. We’re one of the last countries not to have relations with North Korea, still trying to isolate it. But the fact is, North Korea was really reaching out, and then they faced the wall of hostility from Bush.

It is true, that if we continue to intimidate North Korea with nuclear weapons, and bring them into the theater by submarines and air power, anybody in North Korea would get a deterrent. In that sense, the critics of North Korea are right that North Korea, when it felt intimidated over many, many years, eventually developed nuclear weapons. It might have happened anyway. But the fact is we did have agreements with them that kept them from moving to nuclear weapons.

Finally, I would say in response to your question, that the discourse about North Korea under Trump has just been absurd, in that Trump, as I said, talked about our nuclear submarines off the coast. He has threatened North Korea. He’s also said he’d like to talk to Kim Jung-un over a hamburger. That might be the better way to go. But he’s so erratic, and the one thing the North Koreans notice is the submarines, the two aircraft carrier task forces that are in Northeast Asian waters right now. What Trump has done privately or secretly, or what the Pentagon has done, is just jam a bunch of hardware up against North Korea.

Meanwhile, our press, and that includes not just Fox News, but CNN and MSNBC, are constantly running scare stories about North Korea. I saw on CNN that Ana Navarro, one of their frequent commentators, even referred to Kim by his first name, saying, “Little boy Un is a maniac.” She probably thought that was his last name. But that’s the level of discourse that we’ve had about North Korea under Trump.

Michael Slate: You’ve also made a point, and I think this is really important, that there’s a whole different perception of the problem, the source of danger, in relation to nukes in Korea. There’s an epistemology that is always bad no matter when it’s used, which is based on “everybody knows.” And that is a very dangerous thing in relation to this. In reality there’s a long history, as you’ve been saying, of nuclear threats against North Korea itself. In fact, the U.S. has recently installed the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. Let’s talk about those two things.

Bruce Cumings: Well, that was one of the more cynical ploys on the part of the United States in recent years. This Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was jammed into South Korea while the current president, at the time President Park Geun-hye was being impeached, and before the election that was held earlier this month, which brought a progressive to power.

The U.S. fears that Moon Jae-in, the new president, will be an engager of North Korea like his mentor, Roh Moo-hyun, who was president from 2002 to 2007. So they wanted to get that system in and installed before the new president came into office. And he just complained last week that four launchers were brought in without his permission, or without his office being notified about that. In other words, we are continuing to add to the system even after he’s president without telling him.

There’s just an outrageous situation in our relationship with South Korea. We never have problems with the ruling party that goes back to the dictators, but we always have problems with liberals and progressives who want to try a different approach toward North Korea. The only time that has not been true was when Bill Clinton and William Perry brought American policy around to engagement for two years, 1998-2000. That’s the only time we’ve had direct talks with the North Koreans that have really yielded so much.

But I would expect that President Trump is not going to like President Moon very well, and we’ll see a lot of tension in their relationship, just as there was between George W. Bush and Roh Moo-hyun in the early 2000s.

I want to say one more thing about the THAAD system. It’s really designed not to knock down North Korean missiles. North Korea has short- to medium-range missiles that it can launch by the dozens, and there’s no way this THAAD system can knock them down. It’s really there to monitor North Korean long-range missiles and Chinese missile tests and long-range missiles. The Chinese have complained mightily about this.

I think the THAAD system’s installation in South Korea was primarily political, in that it was trying to get it in there before a progressive president was elected, and to do what the U.S. has been trying to do for many, many years, which is to weld South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. together in an alignment, or an alliance, to contain China. It doesn’t really have much to do at all with the so-called North Korean threat. But it has a lot to do with pissing off China and making sure the system’s in there before a president comes to power who might not like it.

Michael Slate: Just how dangerous is this situation, both in terms of war and even the impact of war on human survival?

Bruce Cumings: I’m in touch with 30 or 40 people who work on North Korea, former government officials, scholars. Somehow North Korea’s become the big deal. We have 15 or 20 websites dealing with it now that we never had 10 or 15 years ago. But in the last couple of months, I’ve seen time and again, very well-informed experts worrying about the U.S. and North Korea coming to blows. It could come from an incident that ratchets up into a war, or it could come from a preemptive attack. There was a great deal of talk back in March and April about Trump people favoring a preemptive attack on North Korea, on its missiles. You can’t really attack their nuclear facilities preemptively without letting loose a whole lot of radiation around the region.

There was almost a consensus inside the Beltway in the fall and winter that if North Korea keeps moving toward an ability to hit the United States with a long-range missile and a nuclear weapon, well we just have to think about preempting that. And it’s very, very dangerous, because along the DMZ, there have been cycles of preemption and counter-preemption both happening and envisioned by the respective militaries, North Korea, South Korea and the U.S., going back decades, going back to the Korean War. So to add the threat of a preemptive attack on North Korea’s missiles is to just come close to bringing forth the general war in the region that we talked about.

Dr. Bruce Cumings is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago, and author of many books, including The Korean War, and Inventing the Axis of Evil, the Truth about North Korea, Iran and Syria (contributor).

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/exhibit-in-chicago--then-they-came-for-me-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Check it Out:

“Then They Came For Me” Exhibit in Chicago

Letter from a Reader

November 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

I recently had a chance to see an exhibit at the Alphawood Gallery in Chicago that really hit me hard. The exhibit is called “Then They Came For Me.” and also features a powerful film called And Then They Came for Us. Both are about the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, first in “war relocation centers” and then in internment camps in the spring of 1942, just a few months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i. If you are in Chicago, hurry to see it since it closes November 19.

I thought I knew a lot about this, but the exhibit made me realize how seldom this story is told in its full horror and outrageousness. You can also learn about this in the American Crime Series at revcom.us.  (See case #89).

One reason the exhibit is so powerful is that it gives you a gut-level feeling for what it was like to be one of the people in the “removal” and how brutal it was. This is revealed through personal accounts and mementos of those who experienced it, plus very powerful photos that are enlarged and displayed with great impact so you feel like you are there.

One wall at the beginning has a timeline for 1942, which is astonishing: Executive Order 9066 was signed in February; in mid-April the first “removal” was carried out in San Francisco; in mid-May most other Japanese-Americans were given notice to immediately register their family, and a week later they were given six days to pack only what they could carry, and to sell homes and businesses at rock-bottom prices. Then they were loaded onto trains and trucks and taken hundreds of miles away without knowing their destination until they got there. A quote from internee James M. Omura is highlighted: “Has the Gestapo come to America? Have we not risen in righteous anger at Hitler’s mistreatment of Jews? Then, is it not incongruous that citizen Americans of Japanese descent should be similarly mistreated and persecuted?”

Dorothea Lange was one of several photographers hired by the War Relocation Authority to photograph the removal and show how “humane” and “orderly” it was. She was outraged by what she saw and resolved to resist by documenting every anguish and abuse of the people incarcerated. Initially they were not supposed to photograph the barbed wire and guard towers that surrounded the camps, but these things were so prominent that they ended up in the photos. Many of the pictures are so disturbing and revealing that they were hidden away for years by the government.

Prior to the Japanese-American “removal” the press began to paint them as villains and supporters of Imperial Japan, in order to turn public opinion against them, as part of creating popular support for the U.S. entry into the war. The exhibit has a postcard that was circulated at the time, depicting two white Americans stabbing a caricature of a soldier in Japan’s army. Looking closer, you see that this is painted on a board with holes cut out for the two faces, so grinning fools could have their picture taken as the attackers! This is the “great American tradition” that Trump and his supporters uphold! 

People attending the exhibit were studying every photo carefully; some older folks were talking together about their own experience in the “camps.” In a comments book, several Muslim-Americans and a Mexican-American noted how much it felt like what they experience every day, right now.

And that’s another reason this exhibit is powerful: its relevance to what is going on now in an America under a fascist administration. From this exhibit you can draw the clear lesson that the resistance against the internment of Japanese-Americans needed to be much broader and more immediate, in order to prevent it. And millions today need to oppose similar measures against Muslims, Latinos, and others and even more drive this fascist regime from power.

The film And Then They Came for Us by award-winning documentary film makers Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider is important in its own right. There are interviews with internees; and with Muslims in the U.S. today who are getting support from some of these former internees. The film indicts Trump, has people reading the Niemöller quote in a very artistic way, and interviews three Japanese-Americans who, as young men, resisted their removal to the “camps.” They were imprisoned, but this helped spark resistance among the internees in the camps (see also the revcom article mentioned above). The film is being shown around the country—look online for the schedule. It will be shown in Seattle on November 20, Los Angeles on November 27, and San Francisco on December 10.

I hope that this beautifully-presented exhibit travels to other cities—look for it! The exhibit in Chicago is FREE, which is remarkable in itself. Go to alphawoodgallery.org for hours and location.

 

Editors’ note: This exhibit moves to the ICP Museum at 250 Bowery St. in New York City January 26, 2018 through May 6, 2018.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/courageous-abortion-provider-dr-willie-parker-at-berkeley-revolution-books-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Courageous Abortion Provider Dr. Willie Parker on Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice

November 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Revolution Books staff person:

On Tuesday, November 14, an excited audience had the opportunity to hear and engage with Dr. Willie Parker, an outspoken, Christian reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider and one of the few doctors to provide abortion services to women in Mississippi and Alabama. Parker read from and discussed several parts of his new memoir, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, with the standing room only crowd.

People came from around the Bay Area—students from UC Berkeley and other colleges, the Director of UC Law’s Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice,  Chair of African-American Studies at UCB, a long time Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner from nearby El Cerrito, and medical students at UC San Francisco. One young woman said she decided to become an abortion doctor after learning about Dr. Parker and his work. Most heard about the program because they had seen the signs up around the campus area. There was a small group of anti-abortion people in the audience, and Dr. Parker was certainly capable of taking their questions. The fascists that have been harassing the bookstore did not show up.

After the reading people lined up, to get their books signed, and Revolution Books sold out of all the copies of his memoir. Others will have to come back soon to get their copy. The readings and the discussion of women’s reproduction, and the access and right to abortion care was tremendously lively and deep, striking people on a profound level and inspiring an enthusiasm to further engage.

Dr. Parker started out by saying he became an abortion doctor out of love and respect for women, and that his approach to his life’s work is based on science, and not religion. That facts are the correct objective criteria when discussing reproduction, and that the fact of reproduction is that babies come from women’s vaginas, not from Adam’s rib. With warmth, humor and science, he debunked any notion that a fetus is a baby. He argued that a woman’s right to abortion is based on her right to control her own body and denying a woman that right reduces her to an incubator, and a slave.

In reading from his memoir and in the discussion following, Dr. Parker said that while he as a person has many facets—a heterosexual Black man from the South who is a Christian and a doctor—he is first and foremost a human and this is what determines how he approaches the world. He spoke of the risks he faces all the time. Parker writes: “I could live with the awareness that someone might harm me. I am not so sure that I am brave enough to live with the awareness that I was too afraid to do what I knew to be right.” He recounted a decision he made as a student to stand aside from the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa because becoming involved might harm his career. He said that turning away from what we know to be the right thing to do can lead to a person becoming cold on the inside and when that happens, you’re dead—whether you live to be 35 or 80.

Questions to Dr. Parker were wide ranging. How did he learn to perform abortions if it wasn’t routinely taught in medical school? Why does he have to travel from state to state to perform abortions; how can people contribute financially to his work? How can he equate a woman’s denial of her right to abortion to slavery with all the lynchings, beatings, and the Middle Passage that characterized slavery in the U.S.? How do we as a society get rid of the whole rape culture? Is it really true that if you turn away from what you know is the right thing to do, you will die inside? Won’t you get another chance? Parker made clear that life is not so black and white and you can’t say for certain that another chance won’t come up. It did for him when he decided he had to become an abortion doctor. But you can’t keep turning away from what you know to be true and right. And you can’t deny there are risks involved in doing the right thing.

Dr. Parker’s appearance at Revolution Books, in the current situation where misogyny and patriarchy are being spewed by those in power, was powerful, provocative and profound.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/courageous-refuse-fascism-protesters-block-101-freeway-in-los-angeles-again-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
Courageous Refuse Fascism Protesters Block 101 Freeway During Rush Hour—AGAIN!

November 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

With courage and conviction, five Refuse Fascism volunteers blocked the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday morning. Their 60 foot banner read TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Rush hour freeway traffic was snarled and brought to a stop as the protesters broke through the normalization of fascism in the U.S. with this bold action.

Today's freeway stoppage comes in the wake of November 4, when 4000 people in 24 cities hit the streets demanding "This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!" It comes in the context of the Trump/Pence regime threatening to murder tens of millions of people on the Korean Peninsula and the nightmare this fascist regime is visiting on immigrants, Muslims and refugees, the elderly, sick and poor, women, LGBTQ, Black and Latino people, and people all over the world. This is the second time in two months Refuse Fascism activists have blocked the 101 freeway during rush hour in downtown LA.

California Highway Patrol eventually got to the scene and at first unsuccessfully attempted to rip the 60 foot banner from the protesters. An officer then threatened Refuse Fascism volunteers with a taser stun gun, pointing the electroshock weapon at a protester. Then the CHP officer pulled out a knife and cut into the banner attempting to tear it up. Numerous LAPD and CHP cars arrived on the 101 freeway, and the five brave volunteers continued chanting "Trump/Pence Must Go!" after being arrested and handcuffed. The five protesters are now in custody and have been charged with a misdemeanor trespassing (PC 602) and have $5000 bail each. This RefuseFascism.org action reflected the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Michelle Xai of Refuse Fascism said of the freeway action: "This is a clarion call to others to be part of making history. Let's stand together with courage and conviction, overcoming fear and uncertainty, demonstrating that In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. The Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet. It is our responsibility to drive these fascists from power through non-violent protest."

RefuseFascism.org states:

Demand the Refuse Fascism  protesters be released immediately:  Call Metropolitan Detention Center in LA — ph 213-356-3448  To contribute to the bail fund please go to tinyurl.com/donate2rfla

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/protests-after-trump-ends-temporary-protected-status-for-haitian-refugess-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Protests in the Streets After Trump's Ending of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Refugees

November 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 20, Trump announced his regime is ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who were unable to safely return to their homeland because of devastating earthquakes and hurricanes. This means some 60,000 Haitians now in the U.S. could be forcibly deported or forced into the shadows by July 2019. People in different cities are taking to the streets in protest. Check at revcom.us for more on the Trump/Pence regime's TPS decision this week.

 

Mar-a-Lago, Florida, outside Trump's "Winter White House"

Washington, DC:

 

 

New York - Outside Representative Peter King's office on Long Island, demanding that Temporary Protected Status be saved, and the passage of a clean DREAM Act.

Photo: Make the Road NY

Photo: Make the Road NY

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/Trump-Pence-announces-intention-to-deport-thousands-of-haitians-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Trump/Pence Regime Announces Intention to Deport Thousands of Haitians

November 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On November 20, the fascist Trump/Pence regime announced that it intends to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for about 59,000 Haitian immigrants. This means that as of July 2019, if this order stands, those people will be subject to immediate arrest and deportation. 

TPS provides a legal status to immigrants in the U.S. from a small number of designated countries who are deemed unable to safely return to their homelands because of natural disasters or armed conflicts. TPS temporarily protects people from deportation even though they lack legal status as permanent residents, and enables them to obtain work permits.

In 2010, much of Haiti was leveled by a powerful earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people. About 1.5 million people were injured, and an equal number left homeless. Roads, power lines, and sources of drinkable water were obliterated in the already impoverished country. The meager sanitation system collapsed. Repeated cholera outbreaks killed thousands and infected hundreds of thousands of people.

The U.S. recognized the unavoidable fact that Haiti was unsafe to return to, and granted TPS status to tens of thousands of Haitians already here, and to thousands more who were able to flee in the months after the disaster. In the seven years since, most of these immigrants have been working, mainly at low-paying jobs in New York and in the tourist enclaves of Florida. Many arrived as children and are now teenagers and young adults who have spent most of their lives in this country.

Now all of them are being told they will have to get out. A single mother of three children told the Miami Herald, “I do not believe I will survive one month in Haiti. I’ve been here for so long. My whole life is here...This is home, so when they tell you to go back, where am I going to?”

Part of a Broader Assault

This attack against Haitians is part of a broader assault on TPS by the Trump/Pence regime. This month, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the State Department recommends ending TPS for people from several countries in the Caribbean and Central America. The website Vox reported, “The administration will make decisions about their fates over the next few months. And it’s expected to tell all of these people that they’re no longer welcome.”

In October, the Department of Homeland Security ended TPS for people from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This month, it announced that 2,500 Nicaraguans driven from their homes by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 will not have their TPS renewed and have to leave the country within 14 months; and 57,000 Hondurans forced from their homes by the same storm were recently told their status will be “reviewed” in six months. A Trump official announced this month that “it is possible that the TPS designation for Honduras may be terminated with an appropriate delay at the end of the 6-month period.”

Lying Pretexts for Ethnic Cleansing

An unnamed “senior official” in Trump’s regime told the Washington Post that these decisions just reflect that the original horrific conditions that gave rise to a TPS designation no longer exist: “The law is relatively explicit that if the conditions on the ground do not support a TPS designation, then the secretary must terminate the TPS designation.” In other words, these countries are now being declared “stable” and “safe” for people’s return.

This is utter bullshit, a thin attempt to cover what amounts to the ethnic cleansing of 300,000 mainly Black and Brown people by the fascist Trump/Pence regime over the next year and a half. People living here legally. People who have suffered incalculably already. People whose home countries were ransacked and shredded by decades of U.S. domination. (See revcom.us article “Truth Amidst the Rubble in Haiti: The U.S. is the Problem, Not the Solution.”)

In the case of Haiti, less than two months before the State Department declared it safe for Haitians to return, it issued a “Haiti Travel Warning” to U.S. citizens, warning them to “carefully consider the risks of traveling to Haiti due to its current security environment and lack of adequate medical facilities and response.” Even this only hints at the bitter reality behind the regime’s outrageous claims of “stability” in Haiti.

Haiti remains one of the poorest countries on earth. The website Foodtank: The Think Tank for Food reported that nearly one-third of the country’s population was “food insecure” in early 2016—before two major hurricanes tore across the island and further devastated its agriculture. Nearly a quarter of its people live on less than $1.23 a day. People being deported back to Haiti from the Dominican Republic, with which Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola, are having enormous difficulty finding jobs or homes.

Homeless, destitute children crowd the cities. And as one young woman said, “The hardest thing is finding a job.” People are struggling to get by any way they can, often relying on money from relatives in the U.S. and Canada to close the gap between extremely low-wage jobs and outright starvation. One quarter of Haiti’s national income comes from these remittances, which will now be reduced as people are deported.

The regime is also trying to justify its ethnic cleansing by portraying Haitians as criminals. According to the Associated Press, when John Kelly was head of Homeland Security (before he became Trump’s chief of staff), one of his underlings directed her department to find out “how often Haitians with temporary status have been convicted of ‘crimes of any kind,’ and how many have taken advantage of public benefits.”

Kelly must know that people can’t continue in TPS if they have been convicted of even minor offenses. As Randolph McGrorty of Catholic Legal Services in South Florida pointed out, “If you have two misdemeanors, no matter how minor, or one felony, you’re not eligible for TPS,” and once in the program, “they have to demonstrate [a clean record] every 18 months.” Kelly is probably also aware that 80 percent of Haitians in this country are employed.

These attempts to paint Haitians as criminals have nothing to do with the truth. It is about trying to portray a whole group of people as “criminals,” in order to justify committing great crimes against them.

Urgently Needed: Massive Protest

People have already begun protesting Trump’s announcement. On Tuesday, November 21, hundreds of people of different nationalities protested Trump’s attacks on TPS at his Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida, where he is spending the holiday, and there were protests in several other cities. More protests are planned, including a demonstration in Washington, D.C. in early December.

The attack on TPS and other white-supremacist assaults are part and parcel of what Trump means when he says he is putting “America First.” They must be opposed by growing numbers of people of all backgrounds and nationalities. And the fascist regime pushing these vicious attacks must be driven from power.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/special-effort-to-promote-and-show-bob-avakians-talk-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

This Weekend and the Week Following: A Special Effort to Promote and Show Bob Avakian's Filmed Talk on "The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!"

November 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Bob Avakian’s speech, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, is the single best work on the situation we face today—the challenges it poses to humanity, where it came from, and how to act against it. The question/answer session that follows the hour-long talk speaks to the most critical questions that people have raised—in a powerful, comprehensive, and accessible way. In addition, people get to meet, and begin relating to, the most radical revolutionary on the planet ... a really mind-opening experience.

But far too few people have seen this. Let’s take this next two weeks to begin to change that. Everyone reading this should be thinking of creative ways to get this out—especially those of you who know opinion-makers of different kinds. For the Revolution Clubs, this means two things in particular.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/this-thanksgiving-confront-the-actual-history-of-this-country-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

 

 

This Thanksgiving—
Confront the Actual History of this Country:
America Was NEVER Great!

November 22, 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 will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

Below are four installments from this series so far that focus on Native Americans.

 

 

American Crime Case #56: The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre

 

 

American Crime Case #90: The Sullivan Expedition, 1779—Genocide of Native Peoples and Scorched Earth in Upstate New York


Destruction of Indian villages

 

Read the entire series here

American Crime Case #72: Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890


Victims of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Seventh Cavalry killed as many as 300 Lakota Indians, including children. Photo: Library of Congress

 

 

American Crime Case #77: Christopher Columbus Brought Genocide and Slavery to the "New World," and America Celebrates Him for It


Spaniards killing women and children and feeding their remains to dogs. Illustration based on eyewitness account by Bartolomé de las Casas, in his book published in the 16th century.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/518/showings-of-bob-avakian-film--the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-en.html

Revolution #518 November 20, 2017

Where You Can See the Bob Avakian Film "The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go"

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

 

Watch and download...


See film, Q&A session, Trailer

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.

The film is being shown across the country. Below are scheduled public showings. Look for one near you.

You can also pull together people who are looking for emancipatory answers in this period to watch the film, available on this page. Write revolution.reports@yahoo.com to let us know what happens and what people think about what Bob Avakian says in the film.

 

New York, New York

Sunday, December 3, 5:30 pm
Revolution Books
437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave. @ 132 Street
Manhattan, NY
Phone 212-691-3345
www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

 

San Francisco Bay Area, California

Sunday, December 3, 6 pm
Revolution Books
2444 Durant Ave., Berkeley
$5-10 suggested donation (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)

 

Los Angeles, California

Tuesday, Dececember 5th: 5:00 pm
2716 S. Vermont Ave #8
Los Angeles, 90007
Hosted by the Revolution Club LA.