Revolution #521, December 11, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Posted December 14, 2017

Posted December 16, 2017

 


 

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

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

In this Film, Bob Avakian Analyzes the Deep Roots and Driving Forces of Trump/Pence Fascism and What Must Be Done to Stop It.

Watch It Here, and Spread It.

Updated April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Be part of bringing the most serious answers to the most urgent questions to tens and hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions.

This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in a wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.

Donate towards promotion of this film:

Scroll down for the film trailer, videos of the Q&A session following the speech, and clips from the film


Click to view the full speech.

The film and all video clips are also available for download HERE

For instructions to download this film click HERE

 

 

 

Questions and Answers with Bob Avakian

NEW:  Download, share, and watch each Q&A in a separate clip. To download these clips, click the "v" icon on the bottom right of the clip to get to the Vimeo page, and scroll down to the button for "Download"

Q&A: What do you say to the comedians who ridicule Trump/Pence but also run the risk of contributing to normalizing fascism?

Q&A: If we drive out the Trump/Pence regime, what will replace it?

Q&A: How can we sustain the massive movement required to drive this regime from power?

Q&A: What strategies are there to break through the mainstream news whiteout of Refuse Fascism?

Q&A: How can we protect immigrants targeted directly by this regime?

Q&A: What's the role of students in the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: The Democrats are supposed to be the lesser of two evils, but I don't want to vote for them. I know the system sucks, but what do we do in the interim?

Q&A: As a revolutionary Christian, I believe that we do need this revolution but how can you have religious people not feel alienated?

Q&A: What's the relationship between fighting fascism and making revolution?

Q&A: How can we overcome obstacles in reaching out broadly to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: Millions hate what's happening with the Trump/Pence regime, but does that matter if they don’t act?

Q&A: Do you think that we need animal liberation?


Trailer and Clips From the Film:

Trailer

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Clip: "What are we facing?"

Clip: "Order or Justice?"


Clip: "What Must We Do?"

Clip: "The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today"

Clip: "Why is it the Democrats can only try to resolve this on the terms of the system?"

Clip: "The Christian Fascists
Now In Power"

Clip: "The 'Unholy Alliance' Between Trump and Fundamentalist Christian Fascists"

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/516/how-to-download-new-film-by-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 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/520/showing-and-discussion-of-bob-avakians-filmed-talk-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

From Revolution Club, NYC:

Showing and Discussion of Bob Avakian's Filmed Talk on "The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!"

December 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Off the call on revcom.us to promote and show Bob Avakian’s Filmed Talk: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” the Revolution Club organized a film screening at Revolution Books NYC.

15 plus people attended the film screening, diverse but mainly young who were being introduced to BA and Revolution Books for the first time.

We watched the full speech and the Q&A “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?”

As the call makes the point "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." And this couldn't be more true: people watched the film intently. Afterwards we got into a very rich discussion where people were eager to dive in. People grappled with the Trump phenomenon, what it has in common with the past and what's different, and what to do. People said they appreciated how BA got them to think more about the history of this country and the film got people thinking about the nature and role of religion. And people wrestled with whether fundamental change is possible.

On BA's analysis on Christian fascism:

A college student from the South Bronx said “What Bob Avakian said about the Christian fascist component of this made me reflect on how Christianity has been used to justify slavery, and now there’s this kind of new Crusades in the Middle East and Christianity is used to justify it...And now the criminal justice system.”

A young Black woman whose friend we met at a Black Lives Matter protest the day before was very livid (in a good way) by watching the film and said: “I agree, what BA is saying about Christian fascists and how this got Trump into office.” As she continued to agree and listen intently to others’ comments.

A young activist who works with environmental researchers and who has recently been engaging BA appreciated that BA made clear that not all Christians are Christian fascists. And he went on to articulate the different interpretations of Christianity. He posed the contradiction of Jesus being a person who was trying to help people and now there are Christians who are attacking social programs and the poor.

Off this back and forth discussion we introduced people to the dialogue On Revolution & Religion...because of the questions provoked on the roots of religion, the differences made between Christian fascism, Christian fundamentalism, and Christianity (etc).

The deep impact of BA's analysis on white supremacy...

An African-American college student majoring in literature said the following: “From where I’m at BA really spoke to me...what he said about how if dogs were shot there would be chaos, but then what the cops are doing to Black people...and how BA talks about people saying to ‘get over slavery.’” She went on to recount a story about a white cop harassing a Black youth and feeling the disappointment of a Black sergeant doing the same thing. She continued by saying: “I’m trying to understand the history of this, people fighting for change...you had the Panthers and others....Yes we have to protest but then there’s the 13th Amendment and where things are today with mass incarceration and the scale is worse. I’m feeling hopeful and hopeless.”

People were provoked to look deeply into the present day reality and seek to understand the roots of oppression:

Someone who knows Revolution Books and is an activist; and who had seen the film previously was substantively working through the qualitative leap in the consolidation of a fascist America with the election of the Trump/Pence Regime. He said: “See it’s not just what Trump is saying but what [the regime] is doing and people see so little of this...and the influence of Bannon who wants to dismantle the ‘administrative state’ and establish the direct fascist rule by those with their hands on the reins on power..." And in response to someone saying, that there's just three years left he also commented that "they are breaking the way things work” and went on to explain that voter suppression can intensify and that the means in which people are clinging to stop Trump through voting can be tampered with by the government or outright eliminated. In addition, he said: “I was at November 4, it was great and we really have to spread it. And as I see it you have to do these protests but also do other things that bring change, like divestment, like supporting Revolution Books and local institutions.”

An older supporter of Revolution Books from the neighborhood who has been attending different programs in the past week or so reflected on the history of oppression: “I'm thinking about whether oppression has always existed...everywhere: in Africa, Europe, America there was oppression, different groups and different races up and down. And religion: Malcolm and MLK used it to overcome oppression; and other people like atheists get rid of moral confines and become free thinkers.”

An older white woman active in RefuseFascism.org who has uprooted her whole life since the election of Trump said: “It’s important how BA links fascism to capitalism.”

Off this round of discussion we recommended everyone get into “How We Can Win...” (we gave everyone a copy) because of the deeper questions provoked on the root of the problem and solution (that of capitalism-imperialism and revolution); and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) on how a radically better world really is possible.

The history of America:

A woman invited by a friend who had watched the film was deeply appreciative of the history of America BA gives and said “Trump isn’t just the problem...he’s the latest incarnation of a problem that has been brewing a long time.”

Her friend said: “Yeah, it’s what BA says about the Great Tautological Fallacy...people assume America is good, that Obama was good, but look at all that he did; this is really like a cancer metastasizing.” To which she replied: “A whole process got us here.”

Overall this was a very important gathering: it introduced people to BA, the most radical revolutionary on the planet and it really was a mind-opening experience for everyone present. This was but a beginning discussion and we intend to follow up on what's been opened up not just among those present but ever more widely in society. The importance of this film cannot be underestimated: we are planning other showings (formal and informal) and we strategized some with those present on how to get this film out to their networks (and more broadly throughout society).

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/519/a-righteous-upsurge-against-sexual-assault-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Updated March 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Upsurge Against Sexual Harassment And Abuse—And The Crucial Questions In Going Forward

 

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.

The New Synthesis and the Woman Question: The Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution—Further Leaps and Radical Ruptures

By Bob Avakian

Part III of “Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution” (2009)

Read more

The #MeToo Movement: Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize

A very righteous mass upsurge has broken out around a key fault-line issue of this, and all prior, class societies. Sexual harassment and sexual assault is a problem going back millennia, and a problem which is totally pervasive, including on a global scale. A problem which negatively affects every single girl and woman on this planet: indirectly, since every instance of degradation, humiliation, and dehumanization of any girl or woman is ultimately projected onto ALL girls and women; and, of course, way more often than not directly, because one would be hard-pressed to find a single adult woman anywhere in the world who does not have quite a few personal #MeToo stories.

In this light, the opening of Bob Avakian’s recent statement on this remains very important: “The outpouring of outrage against this sexual abuse and the all too commonplace institutional cover-ups ... is right, righteous, and long overdue, and should be supported, encouraged, spread, and defended against counter-attack.”

This must continue to go further. At the same time, at this point it is in fact necessary to recognize and overcome some negative trends which could serve to misdirect and derail this struggle.

What Should Be the Aims of This Struggle?

When the #MeToo upsurge first emerged there was, in addition to the initial press exposures and outpourings of righteously speaking bitterness, a very significant focus placed on the whole question of INSTITUTIONAL COMPLICITY AND COVER-UPS (similar to the issue of the Catholic Church in relation to pedophile priests). This was a big part of what was new and historically unprecedented about this upsurge: not just the scale of it, the feeling of a dam breaking like never before, including globally, but also the serious attention being given to the fact that these individual behaviors could not go on if they were not being routinely and systematically protected and defended by leading institutions in every corner and sphere of society. This was new, and a very welcome development.

One of the things very important about this is that when you start to recognize the role and complicity of institutions, you start to ask yourself about the overall prevailing culture. You start to wonder about what kind of society and what kind of system we are living under that produces and maintains such institutions and such a culture.

Read entire article

Sri Lanka, 2004. Photo: Mukai

Sri Lanka, 2004. Photo: Mukai

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

Other Key Works:

Click HERE to download the PDF

Excerpt from:

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Watch entire talk online at revolutiontalk.net

Bob Avakian: "A World of Rape and Sexual Assault"

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #521 December 11, 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/520/metoo-movement-keeping-our-eyes-on-the-prize-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

The #MeToo Movement: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

December 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A very righteous mass upsurge has broken out around a key fault-line issue of this, and all prior, class societies. Sexual harassment and sexual assault is a problem going back millennia, and a problem which is totally pervasive, including on a global scale. A problem which negatively affects every single girl and woman on this planet: indirectly, since every instance of degradation, humiliation, and dehumanization of any girl or woman is ultimately projected onto ALL girls and women; and, of course, way more often than not directly, because one would be hard-pressed to find a single adult woman anywhere in the world who does not have quite a few personal #MeToo stories.

In this light, the opening of Bob Avakian’s recent statement on this remains very important: “The outpouring of outrage against this sexual abuse and the all too commonplace institutional cover-ups ... is right, righteous, and long overdue, and should be supported, encouraged, spread, and defended against counter-attack.”

This must continue to go further. At the same time, at this point it is in fact necessary to recognize and overcome some negative trends which could serve to misdirect and derail this struggle.

What Should Be the Aims of This Struggle?

When the #MeToo upsurge first emerged there was, in addition to the initial press exposures and outpourings of righteously speaking bitterness, a very significant focus placed on the whole question of INSTITUTIONAL COMPLICITY AND COVER-UPS (similar to the issue of the Catholic Church in relation to pedophile priests). This was a big part of what was new and historically unprecedented about this upsurge: not just the scale of it, the feeling of a dam breaking like never before, including globally, but also the serious attention being given to the fact that these individual behaviors could not go on if they were not being routinely and systematically protected and defended by leading institutions in every corner and sphere of society. This was new, and a very welcome development.

One of the things very important about this is that when you start to recognize the role and complicity of institutions, you start to ask yourself about the overall prevailing culture. You start to wonder about what kind of society and what kind of system we are living under that produces and maintains such institutions and such a culture.

While the mass upsurge still occasionally points to the issue of institutional complicity, the fact is that what has been INCREASINGLY prevailing is a focus on accusing and destroying INDIVIDUAL men. There is what is in fact a terrible epistemology bound up in this, having to do with the incredibly commonplace practice now of any and all allegations and accusations being automatically treated as proven fact, and accused individuals immediately being treated as “guilty until proven innocent” in effect, while concrete steps are immediately being taken by assorted institutions to fire them from their jobs, hound them out of public life, invalidate and bury their art or other works, deprive them of representation, demolish them on social media and generally turn them into lepers and social pariahs. What is the objective here? To unleash a culture of schadenfreude1 and revenge? Is that the solution to pervasive and universal sexual harassment and assault? And no, this practice is not the institutions “taking responsibility”—this is the institutions washing their hands of their responsibility by throwing someone under the bus and quickly “moving on.”

On a very basic level, the oppression of women is bound up with the emancipation of all humanity, in two profound senses. First, without the full emancipation of over half of humanity from the very specific and pervasive forms of oppression that they face every single day, then to speak of the emancipation of humanity is meaningless. And second, the struggle for the liberation of women can only be achieved as a crucial component of the overall struggle to overcome all class divisions, all the production relations from which those divisions spring, all the institutions that back up and reinforce those relations (including the oppression of women in all spheres of society), and all the ideas that grow out of and reinforce all that. The domination of women throughout the past 10 millennia is not a product of human nature, but comes from how human society developed out of communal, gatherer-hunter societies.

Many people right now have been driven to wrangle more deeply with where this all comes from, and how to get rid of it. Bringing out that point, and more generally sparking the kind of questioning that digs into what is the source of the problem and what is the character of the solution, is one critical task that revolutionary communists have within this struggle.

At the same time, as people are battling this, there is something very real at stake to win right now, even while this capitalist-imperialist, and patriarchal, system, continues to rule. We can and we must demand, and fight for, a real change in the culture, right now. THIS MUST STOP! Changing things in this way, right now, has real import for getting to the emancipatory society that revolution is dedicated to. The means we use in doing that must be consistent with the ends.

An Errant Epistemology, a Question of Morality, and What Kind of Society We Are Fighting For

One very disturbing aspect is the way few distinctions are being drawn between different kinds of instances of sexual harassment and assault. To be clear, ALL such instances are wrong and must STOP. But as demeaning as they are, the instances of stupid Al Franken-like sexist pranks or even drunken groping at a party in front of other people are not on the same level as the behavior of someone who uses his position of power over livelihoods and careers to systematically perpetrate a whole pattern of harassment and serious coercion and intimidation a la Weinstein. So some distinctions of degree should be drawn if the goal is to reshape the whole culture and put a stop to this for real rather than just exact 15 minutes of revenge against individuals.

Then there are all the questions of due process and protecting the rights of individuals who may be falsely accused. (Yes, there are and will be some, even if they are numerically in the minority. This aspect must be correctly addressed as well.) The current situation is such that increasingly, the mere raising of an accusation, even sometimes just in the form of a rumor, is deemed EQUIVALENT to having been found guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt, at least in the court of public opinion—and an individual can essentially be destroyed overnight on just such a basis.

And here there is the whole question that is very important: We cannot have one epistemology for the people we like and a different epistemology for the people we don’t like!!—an approach that is a hallmark of relativist identity politics. So, for instance, while it is righteous to really hate Roy Moore because of all that he represents that is backed up by plenty of evidence (his speeches and actions, etc.) right up to the present time, it does not seem at the present time that there is actually definitive proof about some of the allegations about his behavior 40 years ago, which his political rivals are so anxious to use to destroy him. He may well have done this, but this movement should model higher standards of principle and integrity and not fall into mob mentalities around the notion that mere accusations are good enough, that all women should always be believed, and who cares about the rights of individuals when the problem of sexual harassment and assault is so pervasive anyway!

Even were Moore to be found guilty of the most serious accusations, nonetheless his far greater crime—the crime for which there is plenty of evidence and which he not only commits but admits every single day—would still be his role as standard-bearer for the most reactionary kind of anti-woman (as well as racist, anti-gay and, of course, American chauvinist) theocratic politics and practice.

Calling Out Excesses While Supporting the Main Direction

In any righteous mass upsurge against any form of oppression, there will be excesses and wrong things on the part of the masses. And the fact that there are and will be excesses committed by oppressed rising up against their oppression cannot be used as an excuse to pour cold water on the righteous upsurges themselves—a point which has been strongly emphasized by BA. But that doesn’t mean that “excesses” and wrong persecution or denials of individual rights are somehow OK. It is not OK, and when such things are occurring it is necessary to call it out and to raise standards—to wage the struggle no less militantly but with higher principle and integrity. Otherwise, the strategically favorable focus on institutional complicity is in danger of fading from the discourse or being relegated to secondary importance as an increasingly revanchist “gotcha” culture increasingly turns the daily focus to individual men and seeks less a wholesale change in the culture than a complete destruction of individuals, one at a time.

To be clear: Many, and even most, of the accusations and denunciations of harassers and assaulters are likely true, at least over the full range and totality of such accusations. It is very unlikely that you could find a single adult woman anywhere in the world who doesn’t have a number of her own #MeToo stories! So a mass upsurge and mass revulsion against all this is much needed and should be spread and unleashed, as BA has emphasized as well. But this should be done correctly, with the right standards and the right methods and the right epistemology.

A Complex Contradiction

This profound fault-line contradiction, which negatively affects every girl and woman on the planet (and yes, more than a few boys and men as well), can and should be understood as a profound contradiction “between the people and the enemy” in that sense. But this contradiction—which truly stems from the workings of this system—nevertheless often, or even typically, manifests as a contradiction among the people. This is a very important issue to reflect on and grapple with when figuring out how best to lead in relation to this current battle and more generally: a key contradiction “with the enemy” that often presents as a “contradiction among the people.”

Just as every girl and woman is negatively affected by sexual harassment and assault throughout her lifetime, every boy and man is, to one or another degree, shaped, trained and ensnared from an early age into a prevailing culture which routinely fosters, encourages, defends, and normalizes the practice of male supremacy in countless forms, from sexist “jokes” to porn to endless daily forms of minor harassment, to outright physical assaults, and rape, the ultimate exercise of power to humiliate, degrade, diminish, and dehumanize. We are ALL drowning in this putrid culture. Don’t we have to deal with the manifestations of such problems via boys and men, ALL the boys and men, shaped by the patriarchy since earliest childhood, boys and men that include loved ones—fathers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, best friends? There are works on the website from BA in particular that get into this, and some of last week’s articles began to speak to this, but much more needs to be done.

Sharp Questions

Right now the struggle has come to a crucial juncture. How will and should it be sustained and carried forward? One thing for sure: it won’t be sustained in any kind of good way if bad epistemology and bad methods take precedence. But there are also questions to reflect on about what the bourgeoisie is already doing and will ultimately do in relation to all this. Right now they are using it a lot like a political football for their own rivalries and objectives (while still leaving the molester-in-chief in office!). (Read "The Molester-in-Chief Must Go" here.) But given the pervasiveness of the actual problem, can they really allow heads to roll in leading positions in all the major institutions of their society? This is fast going to become a problem for them. And of course they don’t actually share our desire to see the fury of women fully unleashed! So that’s a problem for them as well. Where and how will they seek to contain or stop this upsurge: a suicide of an accused that then leads to a backlash? New libel laws? Outright repression of the movement? Pence put forward as a Promise Keeper-like guardian of morality? Handmaid’s Tale overnight transformations? Perhaps any of these or something else altogether—no one can say for sure... which is exactly why grappling with such outcomes is one important part of what we all must do.

All this underlines both that the struggle must continue to advance, and the crucial importance of wrangling over HOW to advance it. It would be equally wrong to either pour cold water on the righteous upsurge in the name of preoccupation with excesses, or to passively tail people’s spontaneous impulses (pushed along by the ruling class) and thereby allow the whole thing to degenerate into a culture of revenge, schadenfreude, a blood sport aimed at individuals that leaves institutions and the whole damn system ultimately off the hook. The stakes—for all of humanity and for women—are too high to do anything short of fighting for this to advance in the right direction.


1. Schadenfreude is a German word meaning the taking of delight in the misfortunes of others. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/democratic-party-leadership-should-not-have-driven-al-franken-out-of-office-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

The Democratic Party Leadership Should NOT Have Driven Al Franken Out of Office, and Al Franken Should NOT Have Resigned

December 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Thursday, the Democratic Party leadership forced Minnesota senator Al Franken to resign his seat on charges of sexual harassment. In a single day, 35 Democratic senators seem to have suddenly decided that Al Franken must go and forced the Minnesota senator to resign and give up the seat to which he was legally elected. To be clear, the Democratic Party is an institution of the ruling class, openly dedicated to maintaining and expanding capitalism-imperialism, including unchallenged worldwide domination; and Franken is, at least until recently, an important player in that institution. Nevertheless, there is a question of principle involved here that bears on the kind of revolution we need and the society we are working toward. In getting rid of Franken, the Democratic Party leadership did serious damage to important principles, as well as to the whole upsurge against sexual harassment and abuse.

Six to eight women, some anonymous, accused Franken of sexual harassment and abuse. Franken has either denied these accusations outright or says that he remembers them differently. There is a procedure for hearing such allegations—a hearing by the Senate Ethics Committee. In previous years such a hearing resulted in the expulsion of former Senator Bob Packwood. Yet rather than let the process unfold through which these accusations could play out and be adjudicated, with both sides being heard, the Democratic Party leadership apparently made Franken “an offer he couldn’t refuse” and forced him out.

Accusations are not proof. By insisting that Franken leave, the Democratic leadership prevented him from exercising a basic right: the right to confront his accusers and to test the evidence against him in an adversarial proceeding.

By agreeing to go, Franken capitulated to a mob mentality and the strong-arming of the Democratic leadership. It is highly possible, and even likely, that the Senate Ethics Committee procedure is flawed and shaped in ways that make it weighted against women, as is virtually every institution in the society; nonetheless, people should still have the right to contest charges against them in some arena. In addition, by peremptorily purging Franken, rather than letting the process play out, the Democratic leadership focused against one individual and let an institution which is saturated in the oppression of women off the hook.

Earlier this week we criticized a trend of “any and all allegations and accusations being automatically treated as proven fact, and accused individuals immediately being treated as ‘guilty until proven innocent’ in effect, while concrete steps are immediately being taken by assorted institutions to fire them from their jobs, hound them out of public life, invalidate and bury their art or other works, deprive them of representation, demolish them on social media and generally turn them into lepers and social pariahs.” Because Franken is so high-profile, because this overturns a legal process (elections), and because this was so nakedly engineered by a powerful ruling class institution (the Democratic Party), Thursday’s action takes a terrible trend and seriously exacerbates it.

Today, this treatment is applied to those accused of sexual abuse. Tomorrow this could go on around charges of “aiding terrorism,” or “treason,” as it has often done and in fact still does in this country. Is that what we want?

To those who have asked why Franken should get due process, when women who are harassed too often get none, the question has to be posed: Do you want to end oppression for all people, or just get your chance to take revenge on those who oppressed you?

As we have said, the wave of exposures against sexual harassment and abuse has been in the main righteous and extremely important. It should continue—aiming its main fire and energy at the culture as a whole, the institutions that are complicit with this behavior, and the social relations which mold and shape men to behave as predators. But injustices like this forced resignation not only do grave harm to individuals and critical epistemological and legal principles, they will end up sabotaging and short-circuiting this movement. This approach misdirects the movement down blind alleys, turning away people who want to see this harassment exposed and ENDED but who also want to see a society in which there is rule of law, a respect for the process of getting at the truth, and respect for the rights of individuals, no matter how odious the act they are accused of. This trend, left unchecked and unstopped, will turn a righteous movement into a 15-minute paroxysm of revenge. No!

The night of Franken's resignation, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC, visibly uncomfortable with the bum-rushing of Franken out of public life, nevertheless sought to justify it by saying that “There is wisdom in the wave.” This is wrong, terribly wrong. There is righteous anger at injustice in “the wave” but there is also the potential for turning that anger to revenge, rather than justice. Wisdom does not lie in tailing along behind every manifestation of a movement, but in seeing the source of the problem and the path of solution, pointing out the dead ends and ditches along the way, and struggling for principle.

Finally, Franken correctly pointed to the howling irony of at least 35 Democratic senators marching one of their own to the chopping block while doing nothing to demand that Trump—who is caught on tape admitting to much worse behavior than Franken is even accused of—be removed from office. In fact, not only have they done nothing to remove Trump, the Democratic Party leadership actively discourages and attempts to suppress any such move toward doing so. For them “the wave” must apparently end at the door of the Oval Office. And one would be justified in asking, given some of Franken’s aggressive questioning of Trump/Pence administration officials, whether Franken’s removal might be connected with further squelching any such move.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/me-too-NYC-rally-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

#MeToo Rally Against Sexual Abuse
in Front of NYC Trump Hotel

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution Club return to Kenwood High School

Photos: Revolution/revcom.us

#MeToo Rally, NYC

December 9—Braving New York City’s first wintry blast of snow, more than 150 women, children, and men rallied in front of Trump International Hotel against the culture of sexual harassment and violence. The call on the #MeToo Facebook event page stated: “Silenced no longer, we rise to give voice to our experience and to change the tide of how sexual abuse victims are treated in America.” Many held high signs brought by Refuse Fascism that said, “WANTED for crimes against half of humanity [with pictures of Trump, Pence, and Roy Moore]: The Sexual Predator-in-Chief and Whole Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” After the action, many protesters posted messages on an impromptu #MeToo wall in the MTA subway station: “No Means No,” “My Body, My Rules,” “Stand Together.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/the-molester-in-chief-must-go-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Top Democrats Give Him a Free Pass, But...

THE MOLESTER-IN-CHIEF MUST GO!

December 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors note: This article was written before several Democratic senators began calling for resignation of Donald Trump over sexual assault and harassment accusations against him.

 

Democratic politicians who sexually harass and/or abuse women, like any other man who does so, should be called out. And if charges are proven, and this is part of an ongoing pattern, there should be a penalty. This whole thing has to STOP, and that is a needed part of the process of getting to a world where this really is no more.

But given what Trump has not just admitted to, but boasted about on the Access Hollywood tape... given the way his campaign founded itself on open misogyny against Hillary Clinton (and other women who “got in his way”)... given the many political crimes the Trump/Pence regime has committed against women... then nobody should call for anyone’s resignation without first calling for Trump’s. And not just calling for it, but fighting for it.

Further, a question to pose: Why is it that some of the politicians who seem to be among the most skeptical and opposed to the Trump administration—Al Franken and John Conyers in specific—are the ones who are coming under fire and, in Conyers’ case, being pressured to resign without a hearing? To let the top Democrats turn this extremely necessary and very just struggle around sexual harassment and abuse into a political football and to go along as they let it be “weaponized” by the very fascists whose program and outlook rests on and reinforces an openly vile and horrendous form of patriarchal oppression would be an irony so bitter that it must not be swallowed. This response of the Democratic leadership—to turn on opponents of Trump while saying nothing about the molester-in-chief—is once again evidence of their hopes and tendency to accommodate to the fascists, and why they cannot be relied upon in a struggle that bears very directly on the social position of all women all over the globe, and the fate of all humanity.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/al-franken-vs-roy-moore-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Al Franken vs. Roy Moore

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

RevCom.us received responses to our article on Al Franken, "The Democratic Party Leadership Should NOT Have Driven Al Franken Out of Office, and Al Franken Should NOT Have Resigned." In this one, the writer shares how she is wrestling with this issue from her perspective and shares some of the texture of how this question is churning among the people in Minnesota right now. We encourage more correspondence from our readers.

Most of the press is saying that the Senate/Congress cannot interfere with the Alabama election. If the people vote in Roy Moore then that is their decision. Let the people decide. But that was the exact opposite of what happened with Franken. People in Minnesota are saying WE (the people) voted him into office, WE (the people) should be charged with determining his fate. Everybody is “hands-off” the Alabama election. Congress/Senate cannot interfere or overturn the rights of the voters. We have a democratic process and we have to respect that. BUT that is not what happened to Franken.

Insulting to women

The itchy trigger finger that shoots down man after man regardless of circumstances and without full disclosure is insulting to a lot of women. This one is hard to explain. Some women have been kissed and hugged without consent. Some women have been overpowered or given drugs or alcohol to leave them powerless, some little girls have been targeted, groomed and raped. The big picture view is that it is all the same abuse of power/patriarchy, but on the micro-level there are tens (hundreds?) of thousands of women who have been physically and mentally attacked; their lives have been altered forever, these traumas stay with them for the rest of their lives. These women deserve to have the world understand and differentiate sexual harassment from sexual assault and predatory sexual crimes. Yes all harassment is bad and should stop, but we live in a world where sex is used in some major fucked-up ways, and for the women who have to live with these fucked-up experiences, it is insulting to see the same punishment handed to all offenders. Put your arm around a women and she was uncomfortable? You’re out! Pressure your date to keep going even if she doesn’t want to have sex with you? You’re out! Get together with your buddies, drug a girl and gang rape her? You’re out! Hang out at a mall, grab little children and abuse them? You’re out! It trivializes and minimizes the true horrors that women have experienced. All sexual wrongs should be called out and punished, but for women who have lived with the shame and pain of sexual assault, it is insulting to see the one-size-fits all punishments and attitudes because it takes away the outrage, it white-washed the harsh edges of horror that some men enact on women and children.

Who will Governor Dayton appoint to fill Franken’s seat?

Everyone believes it will be a woman because a woman will not have a sexual-predator past. Any man will come with the same baggage, probably women will come out and accuse him of past abuses, etc. So appointing a woman will solve the problem. NO. Take that logic further, we appoint women to every new position, have female bosses, etc. Yes that would be righteous in a lot of ways but the underlying problem still exists—people will never confront the real ideas of institutions being fatally flawed and people being oppressed. Appointing women just because all men have skeletons in their closets does not solve the larger problems in society. It is a band-aid and will shut down real discussion and change.

It is hard to go anywhere in the Twin Cities right now and not get into a conversation about Franken. I am really shocked in some ways because this is MN, the land of the passive. Men and women alike are shocked about how fast this happened. I know I self-select friends who share my political views so I don’t know what the Fox News crowd is thinking but people are walking around stunned. This is a perfect time to be talking about the true nature of patriarchy and the way that sex is used as a weapon but instead some are using this moment to consolidate power and limit the way we talk about this. My two cents.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/us-delivers-big-fuck-you-to-the-palestinian-people-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

U.S. Delivers Big Fuck You To The Palestinian People

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump/Pence Regime Moves U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem:

An Outrageous “Fuck You” to the Palestinian People... A Huge Provocation Aimed at Exacerbating Antagonism and the Risk of War

On December 6 Donald Trump announced that the U.S. embassy in Israel will formally move to Jerusalem. This is a vicious slap in the face of the Palestinian people, who for 70 years have been subjected to escalating genocide at the hands of the state of Israel and its main backer—the United States. And, this move consciously pours gasoline on the tinder-strewn and volatile Middle East region.

Until this year, no country recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital and none of them have embassies in the city. Every prominent expert on the region (coming from the perspective of safeguarding the interests of the U.S. empire) has warned this move will likely set off violence, unrest, and destabilize the region, including countries that the U.S. is working with to forge into an alliance against Iran. Trump got phone calls from his counterparts around the world, heard their warnings and pleas, and began his speech by rejecting that advice:

“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

What is “new” here is not U.S. backing for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Such backing is a basic job requirement for any political figure who wants to be considered legitimate by the ruling forces in this country, who see Israel as a key ally and enforcer for their interests in the Middle East and beyond. (See Bastion of Enlightenment ... or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of Israel for the real history and nature of this settler state, which has been systematically distorted or hidden from most Americans.)...  Read more

Special issue of Revolution:

Bastion of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism:
The Case of ISRAEL

The state of Israel is projected to the world as an outpost of democracy and tolerance in a sea of hostile, intolerant Islam bent on its destruction. To be considered a credible mainstream voice in U.S. politics, academia, or the media, one must present Israel as a front line of defense against Jihad, and a critical fortress defending "our way of life."

Read more

Angry Protests Throughout the World Condemn Trump/Pence Regime's Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

December 11, 2017

Read more

A Parable

Someone comes to your house and says, “I used to live here, and I have a lot of sentimental attachment to it. Besides, I’m having a hard time of it where I live now. Is it OK if I stay in the basement?”

After a while, he asks, “I have some friends in trouble. Can they come too?”

Then he says, “You know what, I want to live here. I’m going to take the first floor.” When you say no, and try to resist, he brings in his gangster friends to back him up and he takes over the first and second floors, and he puts you in the attic, with an armed guard to control your movements in and out.

When you complain, he locks you in, keeps the keys and puts three vicious pit bulls at the entrance just to make sure you don’t get out. When you continue to make noise, and the neighbors raise questions, he says that he will work out an agreement with you where you can have a kitchen in the attic and do some remodeling of it.

Meanwhile, he moves more of his relatives into the attic right there with you. “After all,” his relatives say, “the attic was part of our original house and so it’s rightfully ours.” The newcomers can come and go, but you can’t. And they can use the pit bulls against you if you complain... or even if you don’t.

Finally he says, “You know what? You make too much noise in the attic, and I’m worried you’ll sneak down one night. Forget about running the attic. Forget about living there, too. You better leave altogether.”

Then what do you do?

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/trump-pence-regime-moves-US-embassy-to-Jerusalem-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Trump/Pence Regime Moves U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem:

An Outrageous “Fuck You” to the Palestinian People... A Huge Provocation Aimed at Exacerbating Antagonism and the Risk of War

December 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 6 Donald Trump announced that the U.S. embassy in Israel will formally move to Jerusalem. This is a vicious slap in the face of the Palestinian people, who for 70 years have been subjected to escalating genocide at the hands of the state of Israel and its main backer—the United States. And, this move consciously pours gasoline on the tinder-strewn and volatile Middle East region.

Until this year, no country recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital and none of them have embassies in the city. Every prominent expert on the region (coming from the perspective of safeguarding the interests of the U.S. empire) has warned this move will likely set off violence, unrest, and destabilize the region, including countries that the U.S. is working with to forge into an alliance against Iran. Trump got phone calls from his counterparts around the world, heard their warnings and pleas, and began his speech by rejecting that advice:

“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

What is “new” here is not U.S. backing for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Such backing is a basic job requirement for any political figure who wants to be considered legitimate by the ruling forces in this country, who see Israel as a key ally and enforcer for their interests in the Middle East and beyond. (See Bastion of Enlightenment ... or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of Israel for the real history and nature of this settler state, which has been systematically distorted or hidden from most Americans.)

Christian Fascism On The Rampage

What is new, is that Trump is redefining the nature of this alliance in ways that abandon pretense that the U.S. is any kind of “neutral broker” and instead frames the U.S.-Israel alliance in terms of a holy war between the West and Islam. This converges with an aggressive move from the U.S. policy of supporting the two state solution to an openly ethnically cleansed Israeli state. The Christian fascists led by Vice-President Mike Pence (along with extreme Zionists in both Israel and the U.S.), have been clamoring for the U.S. to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—knowing that it may well set off hellish conflict.  These Christian fascists think that the establishment of the Jewish state in Israel is a crucial step on the road to “the second coming of Christ,” so Israel has to be backed 100%. Therefore, the fulfillment of their (imaginary) “God’s will” lies in some kind of Armageddon-style clash between their “true god” and Islam.

This outlook is at the core of the Trump/Pence regime. Trump’s advisor/wing-man/hitman Steve Bannon has articulated explicitly that this is the defining clash in the world today. For instance, in a talk Bannon gave three years ago at a conference held inside the Vatican, he laid out a “holy war” perspective of “Judeo-Christian capitalism” versus Islam. He traced this back to religious wars of the past and in the process accused “secularism” of sapping the “strength” of the West. (See the section “Israel’s Special Place in the Trumpite Holy War on Islam” in the article “Obama Abstains on a UN Resolution Condemning Israel... Trump Lashes Back: Not a “Sign of Hope,” a Preview of Incoming Horrors.”)

Stoking A Reactionary Dynamic

Trump’s announcement is very likely to set off a dynamic that is extremely dangerous to the people of the region and the whole world, but which is expected and may well be welcomed by the fascist theocrats and lunatics running the U.S.  The web site Politico reported that “At least two classified cables have been sent to (U.S.) embassies and consulates warning them of potential danger and advising they ramp up security.” Fox News reported that the U.S. Marine “Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST) have bolstered security across ‘several’ U.S. embassies in the Middle East.” Israeli military and police officials have been meeting to prepare their forces for potential protests and upheavals. The Israeli police commander for Jerusalem said, “Any second this place could be set on fire.”

All this takes place in a world where the U.S. and Islamic fundamentalist jihadism are locked in a reactionary clash.  Bob Avakian has said:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28

Should U.S. installations be attacked, either by reactionary Islamic jihadists, or by the masses of people, or by some combination of the two, Trump could well use this as a pretext to escalate U.S. military activity in the region—maybe going to war with Iran, maybe supporting Israel in reactionary suppression of fundamentally just rebellions in Palestine, maybe many other things, depending on the response and both the challenges these would pose to the U.S. and the openings the U.S. would perceive to wreak its violent suppression and strengthen its domination by doing so. Should he do so, the Democrats would almost certainly support such a war. And he could also use this as a pretext for a major fascist crackdown in the U.S. itself, including using such an “emergency” as a way to crack down on his rivals in the bourgeoisie, shut down the Mueller investigation and perhaps suspend constitutional rights. And that in turn would bring about a “reaction,” which the Trump/Pence regime would then move to crush...

No matter what the character of the resistance against the U.S.—and again, while it may very likely contain positive elements of Palestinian national resistance and anti-imperialist outpourings in other places, it will also almost certainly have reactionary jihadist elements mixed in too—people in the U.S. must act against any and all U.S. aggressive moves in response.  The U.S. is by far the biggest oppressor in the region and has, with this act, committed new aggression.

It would be a terrible mistake to wait and see if any of the possible disastrous scenarios develops from this move. It is part of the whole direction, and momentum of a fascist regime moving domestically and internationally to tear up the way this system of exploitation and oppression has functioned for decades, and imposing an openly and virulently white supremacist, misogynist, rabid “USA#1” restructuring of U.S. society, and the world.

For those who have failed—or refused—to see up to now, this should serve as an extremely loud wake up call. It is not “more realistic” to sit on the sidelines and “let Bob Mueller do his work,” or “work to bring about change through the 2018 elections ... or the ones after that ... or the ones after that.”

No, it is wishful thinking verging on lunacy, in the form of leaving the fate of the world in the hands of lunatics and bloodthirsty monsters who have at their disposal truly world-destroying levels of military power, as well a vast and growing repressive apparatus.  The need simply could not be more urgent for people to take history into our own hands, in the streets, in mass, nonviolent and determined action that will not stop until this regime is driven from power.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/protests-condemn-trump-pence-regime-jerusalem-decision-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Angry Protests Throughout the World Condemn Trump/Pence Regime's Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


The Gaza Strip. Photo: AP

Palestinians across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip have been courageously protesting the decision announced by Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Israeli Defense Forces have responded with rubber bullets, and real bullets, which have already killed at least five Palestinians and wounded hundreds more—most as a result of air strikes by Israeli jets on the people of Gaza—including scores of children. The righteous resistance of the Palestinian people has been joined by tens of thousands of their supporters, who have taken the streets throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and within the U.S. These protests thus far have given expression to the just demands of the Palestinian people, and to their anger at this latest outrage at the blood-covered hands of U.S. imperialism.

Throughout the Middle East and Asia:

* In Beirut, Lebanon, where close to 500,000 Palestinian refugees are forced to live in refugee camps and are denied many basic rights, Al Jazeera reported that on Friday hundreds of Palestinian protesters were fired on with tear gas, and clashed with Lebanese security forces blocking the main road to the U.S. embassy. Again on Sunday demonstrators, now thousands strong, marched toward the U.S. embassy. The security forces fired tear gas and water cannons into crowds. Meanwhile, tires were being set on fire, and rocks thrown, and protesters tried to rip down a barbed wire fence outside the embassy.

* Three thousand protesters gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, carrying Palestinian flags and anti-U.S. and anti-Israel signs. There were protests as well in the capital of Ankara and two other cities. In Amman, Jordan, demonstrators held large posters of President Trump with the words, “Go to hell.” And hundreds of Iranians held rallies across the country on Friday condemning Trump’s decision.

* Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Morocco’s capital Rabat on Sunday against Trump’s declaration, according to AFP and the Times of Israel. Protesters waved Palestinian flags as they marched through the streets and chanted, “Jerusalem, capital of Palestine!” One protester said “The Palestinian people have suffered so much and continue to suffer because of Israel’s barbaric colonization.” And a lawyer from Casablanca, marching with his six-year-old daughter, said, “We must, more than ever, make our voices heard against this decision by Trump that will deprive the Palestinians of their land.”

* In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, more than 1,000 demonstrators marched after Friday prayers carrying banners with anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans. They burned effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags, and some tried to get to the barricaded U.S. embassy. At the same time, according to an AFP reporter, 2,500 demonstrators were protesting in the western city of Herat, while 500 people rallied in Kunduz.

* And in neighboring Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, people protested, chanting anti-Trump slogans and setting fire to American and Israeli flags, and effigies of Trump.

* Some 5,000 demonstrators in Muslim-majority Malaysia marched on the U.S. embassy in the capital of Kuala Lumpur Friday after the main weekly Muslim prayers in a nearby mosque, chanting and waving banners reading "Hands off Jerusalem" and "Down USA President Trump."

* In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, there have been three demonstrations against Trump's decision. The latest one, on December 10, saw 10,000 people demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, the capital. Some carried signs reading "No to Trump" and others carried large Palestinian flags.

Demonstrations Across Europe:

* Thousands protested at the U.S. embassy in London in support of the Palestinians and against Trump's announcement. A protest at the U.S. embassy in Rome, Italy's capital, was joined by protesters from the U.S. The protest at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France, came at the same time as people are demanding that the scheduled visit by Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, be cancelled. More than 4,000 Greeks and Palestinians marched through the center of Athens, Greece on Friday to the U.S. embassy. People chanted “Free Palestine,” and called Americans “killers of the people.”

Protests Inside the U.S.

* On Thursday night several hundred demonstrators rallied in Daley Plaza in Chicago before disrupting rush hour traffic as they marched on the Israeli consulate, condemning Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. People waved flags and chanted “Free Palestine!” A group of violent neo-Nazi counter-protesters wearing masks and chanting the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” tried to disrupt the demonstration, but were driven off by the protesters.

* Hundreds of protesters filled Times Square in New York City on Friday evening to denounce Trump’s decision and express their support of the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people with the chant: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

* In San Francisco more than 100 people rallied at United Nations Plaza on Saturday to condemn Trump’s decision. People addressed the crowd in English and Arabic. Their chants included “Hey hey, ho ho, the occupation has got to go,” and “Free Palestine.” Their demand was that Jerusalem be turned over to the Palestinians. KQED reported that the rally was organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and co-sponsored by almost 50 Bay Area organizations including some Jewish organizations. They reported that one of the Palestinians who spoke at the rally used to live in Jerusalem. He said: “Coming here ... there are people sharing these feelings and it’s great.”

* On Wednesday night in Boston, on the heels of Trump’s announcement, a group of about 50 young Jews with a group known as “If Not Now” held signs denouncing war and occupation, and chanted “Stop the move.” The demonstration was held in front of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the most powerful Zionist group inside the USA, which had already praised the decision as “an important, historic step.”

* Over 200 people protested and marched in Houston on Saturday against Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The "Emergency rally: Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine from the University of Houston. It was a spirited rally in support of Palestine—with chants like, "When people are occupied, resistance is justified"; "Intifada, intifada, long live the intifada"; "From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free"; "1, 2, 3, 4, occupation no more, 5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is a racist state"; "Viva Palestina," and several others in Arabic. The people who came out were overwhelmingly Arabs, of all ages.

* The group “If Not Now,” a movement of young American Jews out to end support by Jews in this country for Israeli occupation, issued a call-to-action and quickly took #StopTheMove to the streets in many cities in protest, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago where they went to Trump Tower. Their statement said in part: “Trump’s dangerous decision to pander to the right-wing extremists here and in Israel by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy both legitimizes the brutal policies of Occupation and will lead to the next wave of unnecessary death for Israelis and Palestinians.”

* Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement condemning Trump’s announcement as a “move that would make the U.S. the only country in the world to do so. This move is counter to international law and is a clear attempt by Israel and the U.S. to consolidate Israeli annexation of land. This move is reckless, endangering the lives of Palestinians and Israelis on the ground.”

   

France. Photo: AP Italy. Photo: AP

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/roy-moore-fascist-theocrat-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Doug Jones' Victory Won't Stop Trump/Pence Fascism...
Only We Will—By Voting With Our Feet—in the Streets!

Updated December 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Doug Jones' Victory Won't Stop Trump/Pence Fascism...
Only We Will—By Voting With Our Feet—in the Streets!

December 14, 2017

On Tuesday night, Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore to become Alabama’s first Democratic senator in 30 years. There is a sense of euphoria and relief on the part of progressive people—what the media has described as a “stunning upset” and a “political earthquake.”

Yes, it is a relief that Roy Moore, an openly theocratic fascist, was not elected to the Senate, on a platform that stated the last time America was great was during slavery when  “...families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another...Our families were strong, our country had a direction."

Someone who thinks homosexuality should be outlawed and Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress. Someone who was ousted from the Supreme Court of Alabama twice for defying the principle of separation of church and state, with Christian fascist advocacy of the Ten Commandments as the “moral foundation” of U.S. law.  (He was first removed for installing and refusing to remove a two-and-a-half ton monument of the Ten Commandments in front of the state’s judicial building, and then after being elected again, removed for ordering lower court judges in Alabama to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and refusing to issue marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples.)

But what actually happened on Tuesday? Doug Jones barely won the state, with about 21,000 more votes than Moore received out of over 1.3 million vote cast. While Black people turned out to vote, likely in response to the vile white supremacy advocated by Moore, the only reason Moore lost was that a small sliver of people—22,000—who typically vote Republican couldn’t stomach pulling the lever with the drumbeat of allegations against him on predatory sexual behavior—but couldn’t stomach voting for Jones either, so they cast write-in votes. Even though Trump and most of the Republican leadership lined up behind Moore, with endorsements, proxy campaign rallies (Trump in Pensacola), or statements of support to the effect that this is “the choice of the voters in Alabama.” In other words, the nakedly Christian fascist and slavery-loving program got a “pass” by most of the people of Alabama and the Republican leadership... with all of this, the fascist theocratic agenda got a major boost, and this should not be under-estimated!

Read more

Republican Party Comes ALL the Way Out of Its Bag

Roy Moore Wishes for the Days and Morals of Slavery—
Trump and Republican Party Continue to Back Him

December 8, 2017

On Thursday, a quote from a Roy Moore speech in September of this year, when he was already campaigning for the Senate, began bouncing around the Internet. Asked by an African-American man in the audience when Moore thought America was last “great,” Moore said, “I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another.... Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

Think about this! Slavery and family values?!? When slave masters raped enslaved women over and over again?!?! When children were sold hundreds of miles away from their parents, never to be seen again?!?! When husbands and wives were separated, again sold to faraway places?!?!
Read more.

The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt:
Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America

Away With All Gods book cover

Excerpt from
AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World

by Bob Avakian

For a number of years now, I have been thinking about—and pondering the implications of—the fact that what’s called the “Bible Belt” in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt. Those parts of the country where fundamentalist religion has been historically and most powerfully rooted, and is so even today, are also the places where historically the most brutal oppression has been carried out and has been justified, over and over again, in the name of Christianity. In America, with its whole history of oppression of Black people—beginning with slavery and continuing in various forms down to the present—upholding tradition and traditional morality, and insisting on unthinking obedience to authority, is bound to go hand in hand with white supremacy, as well as male supremacy.

The questions arise in this connection: Is this just an accidental association—between the Bible Belt and the Lynching Belt—or is this something more deeply rooted and causally connected? And, if the latter, what are the historical and material roots of this connection between the Bible Belt and the Lynching Belt, between Christian fundamentalism and white supremacy in the history of the U.S.?
Read more.

'I think it was great...even though we had slavery'-Roy Moore.
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Roy Moore and the Democrats

December 11, 2017

If Moore wins the Senate race, he will be a highly prominent national figure, instantly more famous than 95 percent of the rest of the Senate and Congress. This fascist fanatic will have an even bigger platform to run his lunacy as a “legitimate voice.” He will further fan the flames of naked white supremacy and the restoration of untrammeled patriarchy and degradation of women which, along with extreme American chauvinism and a program of global aggression and war, form the reactionary triad at the core of the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime.

But here’s a question to seriously think about and come to grips with: Where are Nancy Piglosi, Schmuck Fumer and other Democratic Party establishment figures denouncing the Christian fascist theocrat who may soon take a seat in the Senate? Where are their calls to walk out and bring business as usual to a stop if Moore should get elected? There are none.

The fact that a theocratic fanatic like Roy Moore has gotten this far—and that the Trump/Pence regime and the Republican Party have fully backed him, without any real opposition from the Democrats, and that all this is just digested into and normalized by the “24-hour news cycle”—says a lot of how far things have gotten. It says a lot about how all this could quickly go much further down the path of a Christian fascist theocracy in America. It says a lot about the urgency to jump into the fight to defeat this. And it says how this struggle must NOT rely on the leaders of the Democratic Party.
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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/roy-moore-wishes-for-days-and-morals-of-slavery-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Republican Party Comes ALL the Way Out of Its Bag

Roy Moore Wishes for the Days and Morals of Slavery—Trump and Republican Party Continue to Back Him

December 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, a quote from a Roy Moore speech in September of this year, when he was already campaigning for the Senate, began bouncing around the Internet. Asked by an African-American man in the audience when Moore thought America was last “great,” Moore said, “I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another.... Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

Think about this! Slavery and family values?!? When slave masters raped enslaved women over and over again?!?! When children were sold hundreds of miles away from their parents, never to be seen again?!?! When husbands and wives were separated, again sold to faraway places?!?!

What the fuck is on the mind of this monster? GodDAMN this pig. One of the most towering crimes of slavery was what it did to the families of those enslaved, and this monster feels sentimental about those days.

In the mind of this pious fascist fanatic, America began losing its moral way when slavery was abolished. This racist comes all the way out with his REAL thinking—and as we post this, not a single major figure in the Trump/Pence regime has denounced him or even mildly criticized this! THIS is what drives and sparks these people, and they are not going to stop until they ARE stopped—by masses of people in the streets saying that this whole rotten regime must be driven out.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/roy-moore-and-the-democrats-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Roy Moore and the Democrats

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

If Moore wins the Senate race, he will be a highly prominent national figure, instantly more famous than 95 percent of the rest of the Senate and Congress. This fascist fanatic will have an even bigger platform to run his lunacy as a “legitimate voice.” He will further fan the flames of naked white supremacy and the restoration of untrammeled patriarchy and degradation of women which, along with extreme American chauvinism and a program of global aggression and war, form the reactionary triad at the core of the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime.

But here’s a question to seriously think about and come to grips with: Where are Nancy Piglosi, Schmuck Fumer and other Democratic Party establishment figures denouncing the Christian fascist theocrat who may soon take a seat in the Senate? Where are their calls to walk out and bring business as usual to a stop if Moore should get elected? There are none.

The fact that a theocratic fanatic like Roy Moore has gotten this far—and that the Trump/Pence regime and the Republican Party have fully backed him, without any real opposition from the Democrats, and that all this is just digested into and normalized by the “24-hour news cycle”—says a lot of how far things have gotten. It says a lot about how all this could quickly go much further down the path of a Christian fascist theocracy in America. It says a lot about the urgency to jump into the fight to defeat this. And it says how this struggle must NOT rely on the leaders of the Democratic Party.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/RBNYC-forum-the-horror-of-sexual-abuse-must-stop-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Revolution Books NYC Forum:

The Horror of Sexual Abuse Must Stop...
The Upsurge Against It Is Just.
Are We at a Turning Point?

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An urgent public forum was held at Revolution Books in New York City on Tuesday, December 5, on the upsurge against sexual abuse and the big questions it raises. The speakers were Fran Luck, founder and executive producer at WBAI of “Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio,” and Sunsara Taylor, co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org; a leader on the frontlines of the movement to end pornography and patriarchy: the enslavement and degradation of women; advocate for Bob Avakian’s new communism. The moderator was Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books.

The forum focused on these questions:

We encourage readers to watch the video of the forum:

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/opening-talk-refuse-fascism-december-10-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Opening Talk, Refuse Fascism, December 10, 2017

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

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is the text of the opening talk given at Refuse Fascism mass meetings around the country.

“The Trump/Pence Regime is a fascist regime. Not insult or exaggeration, this is what it is.

For the future of humanity and the planet, we, the people, must drive this regime out.”

RefuseFascism.org was formed one year ago, one month before Trump was inaugurated. This is what we said then. Every agonizing infuriating day since, this basic message and mission has been borne out.

The National Office of RefuseFascism.org has prepared this talk to open a discussion of what our organization set out to do, and why; to get into what we have achieved and what not, and why; and finally what we need to do now. After we discuss this talk, there will be two shorter talks followed by discussions digging further into what we are proposing for the next 6 weeks.

As we meet today, immigrant communities around the country are living in terror of having their families and lives torn asunder. Arrests of immigrants are up 43 percent this year. Trump’s Travel Ban is in effect.

Wild fires rage in California caused by almost no rain this year. Three devastating hurricanes tore through this country in 2017, and Donald Trump, with the arrogance of a racist colonialist overlord, threw paper towels at the people of Puerto Rico. Today, months later, most of the island has no electricity. In the face of this and overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming, the Trump/Pence Regime has ripped up every environmental protection regulation they can get their filthy hands on, including pulling out of the Paris environmental agreement, which, weak as it is, is the only international accord to reduce global warming.

Donald Trump has ratcheted up the danger of cataclysmic nuclear war—threatening to rain down “fire and fury” and “totally destroy” North Korea. One year ago, Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action also said that “because Trump has his finger on the nuclear trigger, the Trump/Pence Regime is more dangerous to the world than even Hitler.” This too was true then, and ominously, is truer still today.

Our founding Call to Action also recognized that “Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors. All of this has already begun under the Trump regime. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

Is this not still the case?

Last August, recognizing that millions feel in their bones that this Nightmare Must End, Refuse Fascism called for nationwide protest marches and gatherings on November 4 that would BEGIN a process in which people would continue to protest in different ways everyday, growing and building, so that the thousands who came out on November 4 would draw forward tens, and then hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions of people—determined to not stop until the demand was met: that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

We based our call on the reality that the situation was (and still is) so extreme, so dire—with tens of millions of people in this country sick at heart because of the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to lives here and around the world—that it was, and remains possible that masses of people would reorder their lives and rise to act with the determination to protest day after day and night after night. For only by protesting in a way commensurate to the threat of impending fascism could it be stopped.

On November 4, four thousand people came out in 20+ cities, and did so in the face of fascist threats broadcast on media and the internet. In three cities our marches faced vicious armed fascists who came to threaten and possibly harm those who dared to march with Refuse Fascism.

November 4 was a significant harbinger of what is needed: an inspiring day, the most significant demonstration to demand that the whole Trump/Pence Regime be removed from power. The bravery, conviction and determination of this protest should give every person with a conscience, hope. But, November 4 did not launch the movement of continuing, growing mass nonviolent protest. This was and still is urgently needed if humanity is to stop the consolidation of fascism in the world’s most powerful superpower.

The numbers of people were just not there. There were way too few prominent voices of conscience—people who have the platform to be heard and who are listened to by millions. There were not enough of the organizations who have been fighting against the different attacks of the Trump/Pence Regime representing on the streets. November 4 involved many students, but the schools and colleges did not come out en masse.

We said from the formation of Refuse Fascism that only the people taking to the streets with courage and conviction, acting outside the framework of the normal political processes of this country—elections, hearings, etc., could bring a stop to what is a highly abnormal situation—a full out fascist regime that is shredding norms and remaking society and government. Under the signboard of Make America Great Again, the Trump/Pence Regime is forging an American fascism: Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism, a fascism wrapped in the Bible taken literally and the American flag, saturated with racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action says that fascism is more than a “gross combination of horrific reactionary policies ... [that] What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.” At a certain point, which could come sooner than most people recognize, it could become too late to stop—with dissent locked down, and a populace accommodated to the new norm of fascism.

Refuse Fascism recognized that to stop this juggernaut the whole regime must be driven out. With Trump the demagogic ringmaster, and Pence the medieval minded Christian fascist standing beside him, they have assembled a vicious cabal that controls and is remaking every department of the executive branch. The fascist Republican Party controls Congress, two-thirds of the state governments, and is packing the courts. They are shredding norms of truth, science, separation of powers and church and state, and more and worse, all with no serious opposition from the Democratic Party leadership. Even after millions signed a petition for impeachment, even after a Republican senator who is leaving the Congress said that Trump has put the country on a path to World War 3, the Democratic leadership said: impeachment is not on the table—now, and even after 2018.

Refuse Fascism has put forth that it is only the determined mass action of the people that has the potential to stop this. Doing so by ultimately hundreds of thousands and millions engaging in mass protest day after day, growing in numbers and determination, with the aim of creating a nationwide political crisis such that, as the Call for November 4 said: “every force and faction in the power structure would be forced to respond to our demand. The cracks and divisions among the powers already evident today would sharpen and widen. And, that “As we drew more and more people forward to stand up ... all of this could lead to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.”

This we were not able to launch on November 4. This is the mission that remains to be accomplished. So, let’s dig deeper into this.

We must dig into this not for ourselves alone... and not by ourselves, but as an integral part of the struggle to drive out this regime. We must squarely, honestly confront the necessity that bears down on humanity and together carve out the way forward. We do this because “In the name of humanity, we REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

Stepping back and taking a wide view of what happened and what didn’t on November 4, reveals that people did not take to the streets in massive numbers or with the determination to stay in the streets to drive out the regime because they are used to a certain way of life, a stability that comes from living in a country that hasn’t seen a war on its soil in 160 years and not a major upheaval in half a century.

The reality we confront is that most people in the middle classes, who have been the most vocal in their upset and outrage at the regime, have a mode of living that, as yet, they have been unwilling to disrupt. People have become habituated to having others take care of political and governing matters for them, except for maybe pulling a lever and voting every few years. Even the majority who don’t vote, were not yet ready to cast aside the normalcy of their lives, even as that normalcy is beginning to fray and unravel. This underlies why many people really welcomed the Refuse Fascism basic message, and really hate the Trump/Pence Regime, yet refused at this point to break with the norms and the framework of politics as usual.

We have been and still are working on the contradiction between the relative stability of most people’s lives in this country and their deep and profound revulsion and turmoil over the horrific actions and future of the Trump/Pence Regime. We were not able to move a sufficient number of people to do what must be done. The huge problem for all those who hate the Trump/Pence Regime but aren’t, as yet, willing to break out of the normalcy of their lives and the political framework in which they conceive of affecting politics, is that the world and life as they have known it is coming to an end if the Trump/Pence Regime remains in power.

We must say once more, that because Trump has his finger on the nuclear trigger—without any constraint from anyone else in government or the military—the stakes of people remaining complacent, the price of accommodating to the developing fascism, the going about daily life and effectively normalizing that which is not normal, could well be the future of our species and planet. And, we repeat, this not exaggeration.

People have been trained to see that all that is possible is to cheerlead, hope for, or work with the Democratic Party. Over and over on the media major issues are framed and reframed in terms of Republicans vs. Democrats with eyes focused on the next election even before the previous is over.

We must say to people: Don’t listen to those who tell you that this regime can be dealt with in normal ways—whether through elections, special prosecutors, or a change in Congress. We must say this, and we must make the case.

Does this mean that the situation is hopeless? That people will never move? NO!

There is a sharp contradiction between people’s deep and profound revulsion at Trump and Pence, including all the horrific things they have done, and, on the other hand, people’s illusions that rest on their relatively stable lives, including their experience and belief in the stable functioning of the government, its institutions and processes. Even when people in this country’s personal situation is actually precarious, there is both the actuality of life here being relatively stable, and the illusory belief that it will always be so.

Look, let’s get down on the ground. The progressive and more historically marginalized strata of this country expect that their interests will be taken care of by the Democrats. This is so, perhaps especially so, by those who want to reform the Democratic Party. There is a “faith” that is not substantiated by reality that Trump and Pence and what their regime is doing will be redressed by the Democratic Party. It will not. They, and others in power, will only act if and when they feel that they are losing the allegiance of huge sections of society. They will only act when the turmoil created by the people compels them to act on what is for them their greater interest in maintaining their system.

While it remains true that Refuse Fascism is still not known by all of society, many people did know about November 4. Everywhere we went overwhelmingly people responded with enthusiasm to Refuse Fascism’s slogans and Call—carrying signs in demonstrations, contributing to the New York Times and Washington Post ads, and in many other ways. But, when considering whether or not to risk upheaval in their lives and in their beliefs to really throw in with what is objectively required to stop the unfolding fascist consolidation of the Trump/Pence Regime, they retreated into the illusion of a world that is coming to an end.

We should be clear eyed to the training and, it should be said, indoctrination. Every day people are being told by the Democratic Party leadership and those, such as MSNBC among others in the media, as well as political and service/NGO type organizations, who themselves rely on and in turn promote reliance on the Democratic Party, to NOT do what Refuse Fascism was and still is calling for. To not be in the streets, to not stir the beast of the fascists, to not undermine their electoral efforts to appeal to swing voters, to not think and act outside of the framework of politics-as-usual and, let’s be honest, to perhaps begin to question why the Democrats have conciliated with these fascists over a long period of time, or even begin to question the whole set-up.

They are telling people to deal with this in normal ways—wait for the Mueller investigation, and please, don’t do anything to hurt our chances in 2018 or 2020. Refuse Fascism has truthfully pointed out that (1) this could well be too late to prevent a catastrophic war, environmental devastation, the terror and uprooting of the lives of millions of immigrants, ending the right to abortion and many other horrors, including even more draconian laws shutting down dissent; and (2) these fascists are working overtime to strip away voting rights especially from Black people and Latinos, along with a whole historically based racist rural electoral setup so they have a lock on elections. NO! It is deadly to fall for this when confronting the consolidation of fascism. We have to make the case that the only way forward is TO VOTE WITH YOUR FEET IN THE STREETS.

In sum, we need to discuss why it is that we have to continue and persevere in making the case through what we say, what we write, and most importantly through what we do, so that people confront the necessity that they and all of humanity face with the consolidation of fascism by the Trump/Pence Regime. And, why on that basis, what Refuse Fascism is organizing and building towards is the way to make the change that is necessary—driving out the Trump/Pence Regime from political power.

We should discuss and understand, and we should bring out to people all across the country, that the basis to remove the Trump/Pence Regime ultimately lies with them. Refuse Fascism is prepared to throw its all into this. We are prepared to lead together with others. There is a place for everybody, for diverse organizations with many different purposes and understandings who recognize, or can be won to recognize, that only the people acting together with determination in the streets to compel the removal of the Trump/Pence Regime from power can stop the consolidation of a fascist America.

Before concluding, we believe that this contradiction, between people’s revulsion at the Trump/Pence Regime and their unwillingness at this point to disrupt the relative “normalcy” of their lives, is the main thing we didn’t break through on for November 4 to succeed. There were other factors that contributed as well, such as we needed to get enough of a critical mass of people and organizations so that the audaciousness of our plan and mission felt viable to people. People told us that they were afraid because of all the rumors of what the fascists might do. These are real issues that need to be addressed, but they live in the larger problem of which we have spoken. For there are many times in history when people overcome fear and defy the odds when they recognize the necessity to act in extraordinary ways.

We should discuss and begin this summation at this meeting. It is a summation and process that will continue. And, at the same time, we need to move forward. Our analysis of the Trump/Pence Regime is correct and borne out every day. Our mission and objective of driving the regime from power by the mass nonviolent action of millions of people is what needs to happen.

To that end the National Office is proposing the following plan for the next six weeks, until about the end of January.

There are three prongs to this plan.

# 1: A key element of the next period is one of outreach, active investigation with many different kinds of people and organization; ideological struggle over the necessity humanity faces with the Trump/Pence Regime and what is the way forward; and polemics on social media and our website comparing and contrasting different analyses and solutions. Over the next period we need to be actively struggling and learning—summing up the first year of the Trump/Pence Regime and the resistance and struggle we called for. We should do this not just among ourselves, but together with people very broadly. This should be a period of broad outreach and ideological struggle and learning (in relation to each other). Very important, through this process we need to further build and grow Refuse Fascism and forge principled unity with other organizations and communities opposed to this regime.

# 2. Refuse Fascism needs to continue to lead struggle. Particularly we need to initiate actions that sharply expose the regime and its crimes and why it must go. And, we need to act in ways that sharply expose why that the Democratic leadership provides no answer. Here we should look at how the DACA young people went to Nancy Pelosi’s office and exposed how she was bargaining their families’ and their communities’ lives for their status and they were not having it. In such actions we should learn from the actions of ACT-UP in the early 1990s. And, Refuse Fascism should participate in, work in coalitions, that are consistent with our mission on protests on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

We also need to be involving many new people in spreading the message of Refuse Fascism and raising the funds for this great cause.

___________ will speak after we discuss what I have presented here a vision of this whole point.

# 3: The National Office encourages chapters and people checking out Refuse Fascism to watch and discuss the film of the Talk and Q&A by Bob Avakian, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible.

This talk and Q&A speak to many of the issues that people confront and raise.

So before opening up the discussion, let me close with what we have said for over a year, and remains as true as the day first written:

“Let it not be said that we did not move heaven and earth to drive out this regime. This must be a moment in history when millions stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to resist and say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/rf-talk-first-prong-of-the-6-week-plan-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Speech by Refuse Fascism:

The First Prong of the 6 Week Plan —December 10, 2017

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is the text of a second speech prepared by the National Office of Refuse Fascism for the mass meetings this week around the country.

The earlier speaker spoke about how it is true that we are confronting a fascist regime and that the only way to stop it before it becomes too late is for the people in their millions to go into the streets and stay in the streets until this single unifying demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

What I want to speak to now is: What is to be done? I am going to lay out a basic plan for the next weeks or so, from now until January 20, the anniversary of the inauguration. This is going to be a period of transition, learning and developing a plan for the next phase.

The National Office has proposed three main things that Refuse Fascism should be doing.

(1) First, we need to spread the word about this movement everywhere to friends, family, community groups, and others. We need to be doing active social investigation and outreach.

All this will overlap with the National Tour being planned in January, but also needs to go on throughout the next six weeks and should involve all of us in different ways.

Active social investigation means reaching out to many different people and organizations. This should include people we have worked with before and others we have not yet been able to talk with.

We need to be talking to people, sharing with them the understanding that this is a fascist regime and only the people mobilized in mass, sustained, nonviolent protest eventually involving millions demanding “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” can drive out this regime and end this nightmare—and exploring how others see this. As we do, we need to struggle with people over the differences that truly matter and wherever possible to strengthen our unity to rise to what is demanded of us. This will involve calling on them to join with us, strategizing with those who do see the dangers to actually get with the only program that can end this, and struggling with others who are stuck in a path that can only lead to conciliation and accommodation.

There are many levels and ways of doing this, from getting up signs/posters in storefronts, on lawns or house windows, broad distribution of our Call in the public square, at meetings of social and political organizations, cultural events. There is sharing this with family and friends over the holidays. There is spreading this message on social media: @RefuseFascism, and many other creative ways.

Raising funds is an urgent necessity but also an important form of political work and active social investigation.

It is still the case that most people do not know about Refuse Fascism even after November 4, they are not yet aware that there is an organization that has clarity of what we are confronting and has the plan to fight against it.

(2) The second thing our National Office has put forward is that we need to be taking action in ways that challenge the complacency and normalization of fascism in this society.

Protests and actions that break the silence and bring the noise, that “disturb the air,” draw sharp dividing lines for what people need to confront and act on, and that break people out of complacency. No one associated with the Trump/Pence regime ought to be allowed to appear in public without being challenged and politically confronted over the crimes they are committing. People need to be standing up against the ICE raids, even when they happen in the predawn hours. People need to be sitting-in at the offices of the officials who are packing fascists onto the federal courts. People need to be hounding  every agency and public person associated with throwing away the lives of the Puerto Rican people, with ripping up women’s reproductive rights, with spreading fascist propaganda like Trump’s  anti-Muslim tweets. (And, by the way, protesting places like Twitter for keeping Trump’s account open even when he violates their policy by directly threatening to murder 25 million North Koreans.)

Why is this so important? First of all, if we understand that people have to take to the streets day after day with determination and courage, we have to model that. Actions that break out of the constraints of “acceptable protest and usual channels” and that say, over and over again, not only with our words but with our daring and our bodies and by putting something on the line: THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Don’t sit back, don’t try to wait it out, join in fighting to prevent a fascist America NOW, before it is too late!

Very important: Everyone here should come out and we need to make a big deal and bring out many others to join the protests this Tuesday, December 12, on the day of the Alabama election to say NO to everything Roy Moore represents—all the white supremacy, bigoted Christian fascist theocracy, all the hatred of LGBTQ people and women, anti-science lunacy and more—which is a major part of this Trump/Pence regime and the danger it poses to the whole country and world.

At the same time, we need to take actions against those institutions and “leaders” that concentrate what is standing in the way and opposing people taking this road. That means identifying political forces and institutions like the leaders of the Democratic Party, the liberal major media like MSNBC, the New York Times, who are obscuring the truth and pushing people into the jaws of fascism with their insistence that, “You can’t have fascism in America,” by its very nature, and that the paths for preventing that are open and effective.

Why is it important to expose the leadership of the Democrats? Because they are aggressively channeling people’s desire to act into roads that only strengthen the regime and derail the opposition—telling people that working for 2018 elections or getting more women to run for office will solve the problem when it won’t. Some people think that because these Democrats and liberal media outlets are often targeted by the Trump/Pence regime (think of the chant: Lock Her Up aimed at Hillary, or the way Trump calls the media the “enemy of the people”) that we should not raise criticisms of these institutions or risk appearing like we are joining the fascists by calling them out. But the reality is that people have to be led to reject those paths, to step outside of those channels or else humanity will pay the price. People also have to be led to call out the efforts to “white out” and bury news of the only real path and organization that has any hope of challenging this regime—RefuseFascism.org and the people acting in the streets demanding that this regime must go.

Stepping up all of these kinds of actions will be crucial in drawing forward the people who do see the need to act, who want to put something on the line to fight against a fascist America, and feel stymied and discouraged by what they see unfolding and the way that others around them are turning a blind eye. These kinds of actions are also a key way of jolting those people who have come to accept that this is what we are going to have to live with, to provoke their moral courage and inspire them to become part of the solution. If people don’t see any force that is leading people to call out an emergency and give people a way to act on that, then that reinforces the pull to close their eyes, just hope that they and those close to them will escape the horrors, and all the ways that people are choosing to play it safe.

We have called on our chapters to be creative in finding the ways to take actions that learn from the Act Up orientation of the late 1980s, the way that Larry Kramer roused the people in response to the plague of AIDs affecting huge numbers of gay men and others at that time. There are other examples from history that should be learned from as well. But the point to grasp is that these actions are not gimmicks just to get publicity (though publicity is important), these actions confront society in dramatic ways that concentrate the urgent need to act. Some of these actions will involve nonviolent civil disobedience, risking arrest, like the actions taken in Los Angeles blocking the freeways with our message, not once but twice! and others will be like the actions taken by DACA recipients and those supporting them who sat-in in the U.S. Capitol, or at Nancy Pelosi’s offices when a bunch of DREAMERs took over her press conference and shouted her down, refusing to stop or relent despite all her political maneuvering, demanding that Pelosi and the Democrats not collaborate with Trump by trading away the safety and lives of their parents, families, and other immigrants in the name of getting a DREAM Act passed. This was selfless, courageous, and much, much more like this is needed!

The more this is going on in different and creative ways, the more many people will be both challenged and inspired to join with us. 

In addition to planning mobilizations of our own, we need to be joining with actions others are calling. In particular, we need to build contingents for and join with the organizing for major demonstrations that are being called for the January 20 inauguration anniversary, either the women’s march or others opposing the regime. We should endorse and join in coalition with others, seeking to be part of and have influence on them. And we might want to organize feeder marches in some places. It is not just important to be in unity with those who are stepping out into the streets, it is also a way that we can engage with those who feel compelled to act, giving them leadership and a way to act more effectively with a better understanding of what we are up against.

Last, we need to be tense to the possibility that there are changes that spontaneously cause tens and hundreds of thousands to take to the streets around an outrage. We should be prepared to push such openings as far as they can go.

(3) The third proposal from the National Office is a strong suggestion
that we make a lot of use of the recent talk from Bob Avakian (BA),
The Trump Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America—A Better World
IS Possible!

We should find ways to make this broadly available and encourage engagement with this talk by all those who need to hear a comprehensive argument for why we are in the situation we are in, and what can be done about it.

Talk by Bob Avakian, The Trump Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America—A Better World IS Possible! https://vimeo.com/238240664

This talk, given from the revolutionary communist perspective of Bob Avakian, provides a clear scientific understanding of how this fascist regime has emerged onto the political terrain and into the halls of power in the U.S. today. Everyone, no matter what perspective you are coming from, will benefit from hearing and engaging this presentation and discussion, including in the Q&A where people working on the problem of the Trump/Pence fascist regime are able to pose their questions and frustrations, and get profound answers to them. It can make a huge difference if people who are determined and dedicated to the mission of Refuse Fascism themselves take the time to get into this, and it is also crucial that a much broader audience have the opportunity to hear and learn from this talk. We need to figure out all the ways, via social media and by word of mouth, for many more thousands to be led to this crucial talk that was provided to us at this crucial juncture.

*** ** * ** ***

As a key part of everything we are doing, we have to be raising major funds. This is not a distraction from the other important work that we have to do; it is essential for raising our capacity to build the organization that is needed, to reach the millions and bring an end to this regime. And it is a way that many people can make a contribution. The outreach and struggle with people to donate is no different from the political struggle we have identified that has to inform our work overall. There is no other source of funds—we can only rely on the millions who hate this nightmare and want to be part of bringing it to an end. RefuseFascism.org has a donate page where people can find the materials and the Call for people to donate. Go there and spread this on social media and email to everyone you know. We have set ambitious goals, but they are attainable if we reach out and involve many thousands now.

In everything we do, we should seek to involve as many people as possible, finding the different ways that people can take this up, spread it and act to organize people to do everything in their power to drive out this regime before it becomes too late.

Everyone everywhere who is part of Refuse Fascism and unites with the mission of Refuse Fascism can take up any or all of these three main tasks for this next period in different ways depending on their conditions. Let’s organize them to be part of this great cause.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/nomoore-refuse-a-fascist-theocracy-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org:

#NoMoore! Refuse A Fascist Theocracy! Protest Everywhere December 12

End Sexual Predation and the Enslavement of Women!
This Nightmare Must End: The Trump Regime Must Go!

December 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday December 12, a high-stakes election is taking place in Alabama between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.

Roy Moore is a Christian fascist theocrat who has twice been removed as a judge for attempting to remove the separation between church & state by placing “Biblical Law” above Constitutional protections . He has galvanized a fascist base & has been endorsed by an admitted sexual-predator, Donald Trump.

Some of Moore’s most powerful supporters have declared that even if the allegations that he sexually molested girls are true, he should still be elected to the Senate. Others have even used the Bible to justify Moore’s predation of young girls.

It is dangerous that Moore is being treated as a “legitimate” candidate & that even most criticism of him ignores his role in setting up a theocratic government.

Trump, Pence and Roy Moore represent an unholy American fascism; rooted in white supremacy, patriarchy, extreme religious fundamentalism, and America-First chauvinism. Trump has packed the federal courts with right-wing judges and filled his cabinet with religious fanatics. Mike Pence opposes abortion and birth control; as Indiana governor he oversaw the imprisonment of Purvi Patel for allegedly self-inducing an abortion. The election of Moore would represent an extremely dangerous leap in the consolidation of fascism in America. Even if defeated, Moore’s campaign has accelerated the mainstreaming and normalization of theocratic fascism.

Here are just a few examples of Roy Moore’s outrageous history:

Millions of people do NOT want to live in Moore’s kind of society, and feel it is a nightmare. We must reach them and challenge them to act. Everyday this regime is in power they are hammering their agenda into place & it becomes normalized. Waiting for elections in 2018 or 2020 endangers humanity. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Only the people acting in our millions in determined & continuous protest can end the nightmare.

On December 12 all those who want this nightmare to end–
Take to the streets to demand that the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!—
In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

Wear your Handmaid’s Tale costumes
Refusefascism.org
917 407 1286
@RefuseFascism

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/kenwood-korea-quiz-sick-chicago-pig-humor-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Sick Chicago police humor—use their loudspeaker to drown out Revolution Club talking to high school students by playing Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Early in the morning before school on Friday, December 1, Revolution Club members went outside Kenwood High School—a South Side school known for high academic standards—with a “pop quiz” for the students. We passed out close to 200 copies of the quiz, “Before You Go Along With and Give Your Silent Approval to the Murder of Tens of Millions Koreans, Take This Quiz and See How Much You Really Know!”

Some students told us they were learning about South Korea in their classes, but didn’t recognize any of the information in the questions. Some took extra copies of the quiz to pass out in their classes and give to their teachers. One student said she hadn’t been paying much attention to the news about Korea, but she did know they had tested a missile that could reach Chicago. We talked about who is threatening whom and who is the greater danger (see questions 1-10 of the quiz). We talked about how people are being trained to look at everything as if American lives are more important than other people’s lives, and what about the millions of Koreans being threatened by the Trump/Pence regime right now? Another student stopped to talk with us and wanted to know what she and her sister could do about stopping Trump. She liked hearing that voting is not the way to stop this, that millions of people getting into the streets is, and that she and her sister could play a very important role in making that happen. She asked a woman comrade if she could give her a hug, saying, “I’ve seen you guys out here a lot and I know it’s hard and people don’t listen and I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you doing this.”

We told students we would come back in the afternoon to see how they did on the quizzes and those that took extras should collect them and bring them back to us after school.

When we came back after school, a police SUV sitting on campus drove up and parked in front of us on the school grounds. As students began coming out of school and we approached them to talk and get them materials, the police began speaking over the loudspeaker from their car. They told students not to take flyers, not to talk with us, and not to give us any information. They ordered students to leave and not hang out in front of the school.

The police then launched into political attacks. First the Black cop on the microphone tried to ridicule a Black comrade with sagging pants, saying he was a bad role model for wearing his pants low. Because of course a young Black man with sagging pants talking with high school students about why they should care about what is happening to humanity is obviously a bad role model! (And of course we all know, if Black youth just pulled up their pants, all the discrimination and segregation would end, the police would stop killing them, the white supremacists from the White House to Charlottesville would stop hating Black people, and lots of good jobs would appear and start hiring them!)

As a comrade spoke out to the students about this attempt by police to intimidate the students and that we need a revolution, the police played a response over their loudspeaker, a piece of the Beatles, “You say you want a revolution,” and then from Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Police using Gil Scott-Heron to attack revolution is even more disgustingly ironic two days after they murdered a young Black man on the South Side, shooting him in the back as he ran from them. As Gil Scott-Heron expressed in another famous poem, “THE MOTHERFUCKING DOGS ARE IN THE STREET!”

These explicitly political messages over the police loudspeaker make clear the Revolution Club is being targeted for the content of the message, a clearly unconstitutional act by police. Police cannot be allowed to dictate that high school students because they are Black and on Chicago’s South Side can have their rights taken away. Students have a right to political expression and activity and police have no right to use their authority to intimidate and harass them.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/thousands-demand-end-to-trump-attacks-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Thousands Demand Legal Status for Dreamers and Refugees, and End to Trump Attacks on Immigrants

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

December 6, Washington, DC 4,000 people turned out for the “Our Immigrant Communities” protest rally at Upper Senate Park. Their demands: that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients (“Dreamers”) and refugees in the U.S. on “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) be given legal status—not deported—and that Trump end his other attacks on immigrants.

As part of a “National Day of Action,” people came from the DC area and from all over the country. There were buses from Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn, as well as from towns up the Hudson Valley, Rochester, and Syracuse. Buses or contingents came from as far away as Wisconsin, Alabama, Nevada, Colorado, California, and Texas. There were also actions in other cities across the U.S.

Most were immigrants, and many were young. This included many “Dreamers,” mostly from Mexico, Honduras, and other parts of Latin America. A 33-year-old immigrant from Mexico who has been in the U.S. since she was 15 traveled all the way from Phoenix, Arizona. She could be separated from her three children, all of them citizens born in the U.S.

There were groups of immigrants from Africa, South Korea, and Nepal as well. (Nepali immigrants fleeing from an earthquake there are among the countries covered by TPS, now under attack.) They were joined by a diverse mix of many non-immigrants. Unions representing janitors, hotel and restaurant workers, and laborers were also there, including a bus from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

There was a real sense of urgency and determination. In September, the Trump/Pence regime ended DACA, which gave immigrants brought to the U.S. as children legal protection from deportation, and gave Congress six months to replace it. That deadline is fast approaching and beginning in early March some 700,000 to 800,000 Dreamers who have grown up and lived most all their lives in the U.S. could face deportation. Last month, the Trump/Pence regime also ended TPS protections for Haitians and Nicaraguans who fled war, violence, and/or natural disasters and now face deportation. The status of other TPS recipients, including the 200,000 from El Salvador, is also under threat and hanging in the balance, as the Trump/Pence regime steps up its arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including those with no criminal convictions.

“We're facing a real deadline on March 5th (2018)—these are real lives at stake,” one demonstrator said.

The rally was very spirited and included many testimonials from family members separated by deportations, bringing alive what the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on DACA and TPS will mean and have already meant for thousands. One non-immigrant said, “I felt like those of us who can be arrested without fear of deportation need to stand up and have a voice for people.”

Very importantly, protesters also demanded an end to other attacks on immigrants and refugees, including Trump’s travel ban, and that protection for Dreamers should not come at the expense of, or bundled in legislation with, attacks on other immigrants.  

The protest focused on the attacks on immigrants and refugees, but RefuseFascism.org material was warmly received. And one speaker said, “We won’t stop fighting until all immigrants are safe. We won’t stop fighting until all Muslims are safe. We won’t stop fighting until the environment is safe, and we won’t stop fighting until Trump’s government is gone, because otherwise none of us will be safe.”

At the end of the rally, hundreds of people had been trained for, and engaged in, a major civil disobedience action on the steps of the Capitol building. More than 200 people were arrested, including ministers, several members of Congress, and others.

All this pointed to the enormous potential reservoir of opposition to the Trump/Pence regime that exists among immigrants that needs to be unleashed.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/prosecution-forced-to-back-off-serious-charges-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Prosecution Forced to Back off Serious Charges Against Chicago Revolution Club Members

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 29, three members of the Revolution Club were about to start trial for multiple misdemeanor charges carrying up to one year in jail. The charges stemmed from an outrageous arrest on July 21 in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side. A video of the arrest on Facebook Live was seen by close to 100,000 people. Many of the comments expressed outrage at the assault on revolutionaries.

The scene in the courtroom on the 29th concentrated the two sides and was shaping up to be an important arena of the political battle that had been fought out on the streets in Englewood. The state had come down hard and the revolutionaries were going on the counteroffensive. People from among the oppressed and the suburbs were there to support the revolutionaries. The defendants were represented by attorneys who are highly regarded for their track record of winning trials. The prosecutors trying the case had two high level supervisors on hand on their side.

The attorneys had prepared an important motion to dismiss the obstruction charges as violating the First (speech and assembly) and Fourteenth amendments (guaranteeing due process) as applied to these arrests. The motion drew attention to the peaceful activity of the defendants who were literally standing on a sidewalk next to Moran Park in Englewood and the fact that the defendants’ speech was critical of police brutality and made a strong legal argument for how the arrests were a violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights. In fact, police reports of the arrest that day stated that there was an “unpermitted rally” taking place in relation to people standing on a sidewalk. (In Chicago, no permit is required for rallies or marches on public sidewalks!) Two of those arrested at the time for sound ordinance violations had their charges dismissed earlier.

The arrests of the Revolution Club members that day occurred before—in the run-up to—a noon rally featuring Joe Veale, former Black Panther Party member and longtime supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The arrests prevented the rally from taking place.

It is important to keep in mind that this court hearing was taking place against the whole backdrop of Kap and the NFL “take a knee” movement to demand an end to police brutality and injustice against Black people. And in the context of MANY exposures of the racist, brutal, and murderous practices of the Chicago Police Department and the eruption of protests that rocked the city after Laquan McDonald’s murder came to light, and now Trump’s encouragement to police to go ahead and be brutal.

The prosecutors seemed to want to avoid trial. What role the overall political climate and the battle waged by the Revolution Club in the sphere of public opinion played in this is unclear. They offered the defendants a “deal.” In exchange for dismissing the charges, the prosecutors demanded an apology from the defendants. The Revolution Club members refused to apologize and rejected that “deal”!

According to observers in the court, the motion to dismiss seemed to have an impact on the judge about the actual nature of this case that landed in his lap. The judge intervened and an agreement was eventually arrived at on the spot. ALL charges will be dismissed with no admission of guilt upon the completion of community service hours (albeit an excessive number of hours) at a nonprofit organization(s) chosen by the defendants.

This agreement also included the dismissal of a second misdemeanor case for two of these same Revolution Club members, who were arrested later in August right in front of the Revolution Club Organizing Center in South Shore while they were observing and documenting police harassment of people in the neighborhood.

Had this case gone to trial, the defense was prepared to bring out how the Revolution Club had done nothing wrong. In fact, it was the police who had brutally assaulted them in an outrageous show of force while they were speaking out for the rights of the people in the neighborhood to be in public spaces, to stand up to police brutality, and to learn about the movement for revolution. AND, the defense was prepared to fight to bring out in court how the arrests that day were part of a pattern by Chicago Police Department, especially in the 7th District where the arrests took place, of unconstitutionally targeting, harassing, and arresting the Revolution Club and others for political speech and assembly that the police did not like. Importantly, this pattern had been documented over months by a legal observer, video evidence, and eye witnesses. (See "A Pattern of Police Harassment of the Revolution Club and the Masses Stepping Forward".)

Had the case gone to trial, there would have been a legal battle to bring out exposure not only of the CPD’s 7th District being brutal criminal state thugs, but more fundamentally actually enforcing the conditions that give rise to a bloodbath among the people and how the police try to prevent people from taking up the revolutionary solution to their own and humanity’s emancipation. The Revolution Club message the police repeatedly attack and try to stop is captured in the Revolution Club’s declaration of its mission from this past summer (and continuing now): “This Summer in Chicago Will NOT Be a Bloodbath of Killing Each Other; This Summer Will NOT Be Free Rein for Police to Murder and Terrorize Black and Brown People; This Summer We Get Organized for Revolution to Emancipate All of Humanity.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/pattern-of-police-harassment-of-rev-club-and-masses-stepping-forward-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

A Pattern of Police Harassment of the Revolution Club and the Masses Stepping Forward

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club, Chicago

This is the back story in just one neighborhood where the Revolution Club has been doing work over months as part of the mission of the Revolution Project in Chicago: to bring forward organized forces for revolution, emancipators of humanity, OUT OF a situation where people are caught up in shooting and killing one another. The Revolution Club has been working on this in a number of neighborhoods as well as reaching broadly all over the South Side and other areas of Chicago with the full message of revolution and the immediate task of driving out the Trump/Pence fascist regime. There has been similar repression and other forms of counter-attacks in other areas similar to what is described here in just one neighborhood, with the notable exception in this neighborhood of the personal intervention of the district commander (who is being promoted in a major way as the model of new and good policing in Chicago).

While this story did not come out at the trial (see "Prosecution Forced to Back off Serious Charges Against Chicago Revolution Club Members"), it needs to be known by people not only from among the oppressed but by all those who long for a future for the youth, who continue to be shocked by the abuse the police get away with in neighborhoods of the oppressed.

When the Revolution Club came to Englewood’s Moran Park with our declaration in the summer of 2017, there was an immediate attraction to it by a number of people in the neighborhood, young and old. Some people immediately put on the Revolution Club T-shirts and got down with us in a serious way about the six Points of Attention for the Revolution.

We publicized a rally for June 10, so everyone could come hear directly from leaders and representatives of the movement for revolution and have a way to step into it. At the time we arrived to set up the stage and sound system, the commander of the 7th District, Kenneth Johnson, was already on the corner, with several police cars and an arrest wagon. He told the legal observer that he didn’t like the “anti-police” message on the banner. She reminded him that he is not allowed to suppress protests based on the content of the message. The commander and the police wagon stayed at the corner until halfway through the rally—a warning and threat to the whole neighborhood: don’t get involved with this. A relative of someone murdered by police many years ago arrived near the end of the rally, having waited down the street until he could see the police were gone.

The rally itself was very powerful, projecting a force that is serious about revolution, welcoming and inviting people in to be part of that, while challenging people sharply to get out of the harmful shit they are doing to one another that this system has set them up to do. Get out of that capitalist system-exploiter-dog-eat-dog way of thinking that has you ready to kill somebody going through the same shit you’re going through because you think that’s the only way to have some meaning and give the lives of your loved ones meaning. Become part of fighting for the revolution humanity needs, the revolution that is the only way out of this hell, the communist revolution to emancipate all of humanity. The rally introduced people to the leadership and strategy that exists for this revolution, the new communism developed by Bob Avakian who is leading the revolution. It challenged people to become part of forging a force that is representing with a scientific approach and a communist morality. A force saying we have the leadership and strategy and science, and applying that, representing it, fighting for it, drawing forward waves of others to strengthen and grow it and further impact thousands and millions.

At the rally, in the face of the police intimidation, community members put on shirts and family members of someone recently murdered by the police bravely came out. Others gathered in the park across the street to listen and lend their support from a distance.

As the July 4 weekend neared, police held press conferences announcing an escalation of their forces on the streets. The Revolution Club held a press conference announcing a campaign to distribute whistles and blow whistles any time police were in the neighborhood harassing or brutalizing people. We organized for a July 4 picnic in South Shore with the theme “Amerikkka was Never Great!”

As we prepared for the picnic, Revolution Club members came upon police in the Moran Park neighborhood who were snooping around someone’s yard. The Revolution Club members started blowing whistles, gathering some people around who had been hanging out up and down the block. The pigs were infuriated and overtly threatened the whole neighborhood if the people there did not turn against the revolutionaries. One pig said, “Nobody gets a pass around here anymore.” A young guy on the block joked that this pig must think he’s Denzel Washington in Training Day. People were worried that the police would indeed retaliate, but also joyful at together standing up to the police who ended up backing down that day. Many people on the block put on REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts and got whistles.

In the next couple days, police made good on their threats. The house where the pigs had been rooting through the yard mysteriously burned down the same night. Everyone in the neighborhood thought the police did this. The following days saw an increased police presence, police handcuffing people en masse and then letting them go, police stopping people to ask them why they are wearing the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt. On July 4, a family party was raided by dozens of police from three districts and people were brutalized and arrested.

We organized a community meeting in the park about the police attacks. The following week we heard from people in the community that police were going around the Moran Park neighborhood telling people they would be arrested if they were out on the sidewalk between the hours of 7 am and 3 pm. It was an unofficial martial law. And community people, especially youths, were being threatened with arrest if they did not immediately take off the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt. The pressure was building.

Not only were there all the overt threats and harassment, at the same time slanders and political attacks against the Revolution Club and against the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, began being spread from unknown sources through the neighborhood. Some people who had initially supported the revolution were starting to turn against it, while others started to have deeper discussions to learn more what the revolution is really all about.

The Revolution Club issued a notice that we would defy the daytime ban and called on others to join us standing on the sidewalk on July 21 from 7 am to 3 pm and wear their T-shirts wherever they were that day. We announced we would have a rally on the corner of 57th and Racine by Moran Park in Englewood featuring Joe Veale, a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and former member of the Black Panther Party who had given a powerful speech at the June 10 rally.

Beginning around 10 am on the 21st, 7th District police moved to get the Revolution Club members off the street. First they arrested one woman literally for supposedly taping a sign to a pole! Then, police SUVs gathered at the corner of 57th and Racine as the rally start time neared. As the Revolution Club got on the microphone to start gathering people for the rally, police swooped in to stop it and arrested four people.

The rally was disrupted and the revolutionaries regrouped and called forward others to join a press conference in front of the 7th District station, where the Revolution Club members were all being held. Commander Kenneth Johnson personally came out of the station making threats and declaring his opposition to the message of the Revolution Club, saying on video that his district “works hard at fostering relationships within the community” and he thinks what we are doing is “totally antithesis to what’s going on in the streets.”

       

The next day, the Revolution Club followed through on the rally at 57th and Racine, joined by people newly getting involved with the club, people from other organizations, and people from the neighborhood. Again Commander Johnson appeared, flanked by several police and police SUVs on the street where Carl Dix called him out for enforcing a modern-day version of the infamous Black Codes. Again Johnson stated his disagreement with the message of the rally and said he would enforce every law he could find to use against the Revolution Club.

The Revolution Club decided to do a film showing the next week in Moran Park of the seminal speech from Bob Avakian, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The day before the film showing, when the Revolution Club was standing on the sidewalk talking to people in the neighborhood, four police SUVs pulled up and numerous police came out and surrounded the three Revolution Club members, threatening them with arrest. After a brief standoff, the police backed away and got back in their cars and drove off. Later they drove past, waving and shouting out the name of one of the Revolution Club members who had been arrested on July 21. At the film showing the next day, Commander Johnson AGAIN appeared at the end of the showing, and said he did not want this message in this neighborhood.

Since then, the Revolution Club has not backed off of our mission and not backed off organizing in the Moran Park neighborhood, coming back again and again and working to draw forward and organize people into the revolution, impacting the whole neighborhood as we work to impact society as a whole.

In recent months we have also worked tirelessly to organize forces for revolution and as a key task of the revolution right now to get the word out everywhere, including all over the South Side of Chicago, about the need to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime, which gains strength and gets more dangerous to humanity by the day. The Chicago Police Department has also tried to stop this message from getting out, including coming down in very heavy-handed ways on students at Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park who have only begun checking out the Revolution Club and the movement to drive out this regime. And meanwhile, the police continue to carry out their overall brutality and repression against the masses of people, including just recently murdering a young man on the South Side. (See “JUSTICE FOR QUONO!”)

What is needed is you.

Why is the Chicago Police Department working so hard to stop people on the South Side from getting organized into the revolution? Why do they hate so much the message that people should stop killing each other, should stand up against murder and terror by the police, and should get organized for revolution to emancipate humanity? Why, when people try to lift their heads to something lofty and good for humanity, do the police come down so hard on them? Police who are supposedly here to serve and protect. Police who supposedly are so concerned about all the shootings among the people.

Some people think revolution couldn’t happen, that people can’t ever get together and that there is no way to win. In the Revolution Club, we know that’s not true because we’ve studied the work Bob Avakian has done to develop a path to win, and the scientific toolkit to use to work through the contradictions involved in doing this.

But what the Chicago Police Department is doing should also be an indication to all. What are they worried about? They are not trying to stop violence. They are trying to stop revolution, and seem to be pretty concerned that this revolution could grow forces right here, right now in this city that might call the whole society into question.

How we fight forward is by growing the forces for revolution, as we grow the movement to drive out Trump and Pence. What is needed is you. To get with this. To find out about Bob Avakian and see his work for yourself. To join the Revolution Club. To be part of calling forward millions now to drive out a fascist regime. To be part of preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard, for the time when millions can be led to go all out for revolution, with a real chance to win.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/american-crime-51-tazreen-bangladesh-garment-inferno-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

American Crime

#51: Tazreen Bangladesh Garment Inferno

December 11, 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.

 

Children holding signs demanding compensation for wounded workers.
Children of Tazreen Fashion workers who died in the Bangladesh garment factory fire, November 2014. Photo: AP

THE CRIME: During the early morning hours of November 24, 2012, 600 of the more than 1,400 daily workers at the nine-story Tazreen Fashions factory near the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka stayed on to work overtime producing ready-made garments (RMG) for Walmart, Sears, Walt Disney Co., and other major transnational retailers.

A fire, apparently starting near electric generators on the ground floor in an area of the factory used illegally as a warehouse, rapidly spread upward throughout the building.

Workers were trapped inside the overcrowded factory because there were no emergency exits and the three narrow staircases between floors all led to the flaming warehouse on the ground floor and the windows were barred. The top floors, which had only recently been hastily added to the legally licensed six floors, were under construction and padlocked, blocking any access to the roof. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition, and many suffered smoke inhalation and suffocation.

One survivor, who worked on the fifth floor, reported that he escaped by climbing out of a third-floor window onto bamboo scaffolding that was being used by construction workers. He said he lost his mother, who also worked on the fifth floor, when they were trying to make their way down. “It was crowded on the stairs as all the workers were trying to come out from the factory. There was no power supply; it was dark, and I lost my mother in the dark. I tried to search for her for 10 to 15 minutes but did not find her.” Early during the fire, managers reportedly told workers to ignore the fire alarms, saying it was a mock fire drill, and to return to work. Nine midlevel officials were actually accused of padlocking exits and preventing workers from leaving the building.

By the time the flames and smoke finally cleared, at least 112 workers had died at the Tazreen factory that night or over the next couple of days, and at least 200 were injured.

Evidence found in the burned-out building along with factory records showed that at least six Walmart suppliers were sourcing Walmart goods from Tazreen in 2012 and that Walmart was the biggest customer in the months leading up to the fire.

While the Tazreen Fashions factory fire is the deadliest one in the history of Bangladesh, factory fires and other preventable catastrophes are not uncommon there. Lax safety standards, poor wiring, and overcrowding are blamed for causing several deadly factory fires every year, resulting in dozens of deaths, more than 600 from 1990 to 2012, and ongoing. Just six months after the disastrous Tazreen fire, and seven miles away from it, the Rana Plaza building, which housed five garment factories on four of its eight floors, suddenly collapsed and killed at least 1,133 people and injured about 2,500 others, making it the deadliest known garment factory disaster in history.

Currently, about four million people (mostly women from poorer rural areas) work in some 4,500 factories (and many also work at home, often in the “informal” workforce) making garments for export all over the world, but mainly to the U.S. and Western European countries. Bangladesh is the world’s second largest apparel exporter following China, and the U.S. is the largest importer of Bangladeshi ready-made garment products (accounting for about 25 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports), followed by Germany, the UK, and France. Wages and working conditions are among the worst in the world, with barely subsistence level pay (typically less than $37 per month in 2012) aggravated by long (up to 19-hour) shifts at times. Factory buildings are frequently unsafe and are often put up and/or illegally modified in a hurry to allow owners to promise and meet higher volumes and tighter deadlines from buyers.

THE CRIMINALS

U.S. and other imperialist multinationals with backing from the U.S. political system—the “buyers” (big brands, transnational retailers) who contract with various suppliers who then subcontract with factories to assemble ready-made garments according to specifications and timelines that these big brands direct. In this way, they direct and coordinate the economic chain of production in the RMG industry, continuing to contract with manufacturers who violate or ignore safety concerns, and thereby continue the arrangement of abuses against workers and women as well as the persistence of unsafe buildings and working conditions.

Walmart, as a particular leading transnational big-brand buyer, and its “director of ethical sourcing,” Sridevi Kalavakolanu, who, even while denying that it still contracted with the recognized-to-be-unsafe Tazreen Fashions factory and claiming to be doing everything they can to encourage safer working conditions in Bangladesh, led a movement among buyers even after the fire to refuse to invest in electrical and safety improvements there. Walmart itself had actually repeatedly audited the Tazreen Fashions factory and identified serious fire hazards that were never effectively addressed by anyone. While they claimed to have told suppliers to stop using this factory at some point before the fire, the evidence proved otherwise. And, shortly after the fire, Walmart admitted that “very extensive and costly” repairs and renovations would be needed at Tazreen and many other factories in Bangladesh. But Walmart said it had no intention of paying for any improvements, and insisted that it was “not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”

Tazreen factory managers, who misled workers about the reality of the fire, prevented them from escaping, and even locked some of the escape routes.

Delwar Hossain, the factory owner, who denied that the building was not safe to work in. After his arrest while reportedly trying to flee to India, he added, “It was my fault. But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit, which could be made accessible from outside. Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones.”

Bangladeshi government officials, who rarely pass, and even more rarely, monitor and enforce laws to support worker rights, minimum wages, and safety, or to address the ongoing sexual harassment and abuse of women workers.

THE ALIBI

Finger pointing regarding both the specific cause of the fire and who was to blame was widespread. After an initial report that defective wiring was likely the problem (as is the case for about 80 percent of all factory fires in Bangladesh), the government issued a statement that there was an “act of sabotage” by an unknown party (which worker groups and activists suspect was a deliberate lie to excuse government inaction against the owners and managers). In 2001, after a similar factory fire killed 24 people, Bangladesh’s High Court had directed the government to set up a committee to oversee the safety of garment workers. But that directive was never implemented. Government officials claim that reaching agreement among owners in the industry to implement affordable reforms is difficult, and monitoring and enforcement of regulations even more so. Owners of these factories (many of whom also have power in the government as legislators or administrators) claim they don’t have control over the process and they can’t afford to do anything except what is required by the buyers to get and maintain a contract. Big-brand transnational buyers, in turn, claim that wage and safety issues are the owners’ responsibility, insisting that they themselves are doing their best to encourage compliance with government safety expectations, and that they are not contracting with owners and manufacturing facilities that are unsafe.

And furthermore, all claim that this disaster was an unfortunate accident while they are all doing the best they can to protect the economically crucial textile industry and continue to provide jobs for a section of the people (mainly women from poor rural areas) who otherwise would not have any jobs and would not be able to contribute to their family incomes.

THE REAL MOTIVE

But the truth is that this deadly Tazreen Fashions factory fire (and repeated others that occur every year with more than 600 deaths from 1990-2012) is not just an unfortunate accident, and the reality is that the real beneficiaries of the whole production arrangement in Bangladesh are not the overworked and underpaid women workers, but the transnational big-brand buyers who fundamentally drive the entire process.

The specific local managers and factory owners and government officials all certainly played a role in the lax safety measures, poor wiring, harsh and overcrowded working conditions, substandard building design and construction, and misdirection of people desperately trying to escape the flames and smoke that caused the terrible deaths and injuries the workers suffered that day. But the big-brand buyers drive the process—they define the products they want, choose to contract with suppliers and subcontract with manufacturers, and set the terms for when and how the products are completed and delivered. As the international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, Ineke Zeldenrust, said, “These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps. Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence.”

They fail to take action because the true motive underlying all these decisions is the relentless search for profit, new markets, and especially cheaper sources of labor—the same motive that drove the growing transnational U.S. clothing companies to firmly establish Bangladesh’s major role in the garment industry in the late 1970s. “The reason Bangladesh went from zero to hero in the garment sector is because there is no country with such low labor and other costs,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of the India-based retail consultancy Technopak Advisors. “No buyer is in a hurry to move from Bangladesh because Western retailers are stressed about passing any retail price increases to customers. Currently, there is no substitute for Bangladesh, where manufacturers even risk operating from rickety structures to cap costs.”

Sources and Additional Reading

Bangladesh workers burned alive in death-trap garment factory,” A World to Win News Service, November 26, 2012

Fire in Bangladesh Garment Factory Kills 121 People: If your shirt could talk...,” Revolution, December 9, 2012

Bangladesh: The Human Cost of Cheap Clothes,” A World to Win News Service, April 29, 2013

The Hellhole of Dhaka, Bangladesh,” Revolution, June 9, 2013

“Nicholas Kristof’s Ode to Imperialism… What Kind of World Is He Celebrating? What Kind of World Can Emancipate Humanity?” Raymond Lotta, Revolution, October14, 2013

Everyone’s Talkin’ About Inequality—Let’s Talk About the System Causing It. Lesson from Bangladesh,” Revolution, January 6, 2014

Documents Indicate Walmart Blocked Safety Push in Bangladesh,” Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, December 5, 2012

Bangladesh factory fires: fashion industry’s latest crisis,” Jason Burke, the Guardian, December 8, 2013

The Effects of Globalization on Bangladesh’s Ready-Made Garment Industry: The High Cost of Cheap Clothing,” Alexandra Rose Caleca, Brooklyn Journal of International Law, vol. 40, issue 1, article 7, 2014

Rags, Riches, and Women Workers: Export-Oriented Garment Manufacturing in Bangladesh,” Naila Kabeer and Simeen Mahmud, Chains Final at www.wiego.org/publications

Sabotage, really?The Daily Star, December 19, 2012

Bangladesh factory owner: I didn’t know fire exits were needed,” CTV News, November 29, 2012

For cost-crunching retailers, Bangladesh reigns supreme,” Reuters, July 9, 2013

Gap and Walmart in Bangladesh: A History of Irresponsibility and Empty Promises,” cleanclothes.org, July 2013

Spinning the Chain; Lost in the Queue. International Restructuring and Bangladesh Women Garment Workers,” Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Solidarity Forum for Garment Workers of LDCs Dhaka, August 18-19, 2003, The Innovators

Special Report: How textile kings weave a hold on Bangladesh,” John Chalmers, Reuters, May 2, 2003

Bangladesh’s ready-made garments landscape: The challenge of growth,” McKinsey & Company Report in Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Practice, November 2011

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/ms-interview-dr-carhart-abortion-is-a-human-right-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Michael Slate Interview with Dr. LeRoy Carhart

“Abortion Is a Human Right”

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from a December 1, 2017 interview on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio, with Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who has been providing abortion care for over 45 years. And to further assist women, in 2000 Dr. Carhart and his wife Mary Carhart established a non-profit organization, The Abortion Access Fund, Inc., which helps patients pay for abortion care through generous donations from across the U.S. It assists clinic owners in keeping their doors open and supports the opening of new clinics. Dr. Carhart’s mission is to train future providers in advanced gestation abortion care, to insure abortion not only stays legal but accessible in the decades to come.

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 and people can listen to or download archived shows.

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: Dr. Carhart, you recently wrote an op-ed piece for Truth Out, where you pointed to a new escalation in the attacks on a woman’s right to abortion, and you say that anti-abortion politicians are more brazen than ever under the Trump regime.

LeRoy Carhart: This year alone, Michael, in the current legislatures in the United States, there are 424 anti-choice legislative pieces that have been introduced. In the federal government there have been 25 and this is not new this year. The number is new this year. Last year it was like in the 300s, I believe. So, only a few of them get through, but first of all, if you count the countless hours that the politicians spend debating these issues, you know, it makes it understandable why nothing that’s really important in this country gets done, because of the people who can control the congresses or the houses and the senates of the states or the unicameral in my state. They prevent important legislation from ever getting to the floor by tying it up days in committee work. It’s just a total waste of time, not even to look into the fact that everything that they’re proposing is really an assault on women’s health care.

Abortion is health care and health care is a human right and abortion is a human right. You have to draw that line. And the Antis say, “Well, we just want to eliminate the late term abortion, because nobody likes late term abortion.” But, if you ask any of the leaders of the anti-choice what they consider “late term”—that’s the day after conception. So, that’s what they’re trying to eliminate.

Michael Slate: Now, there are people like yourself who say, “The hell with that,” and you’re actually going to stand up against it and you have never stopped providing abortions for women when you’ve been able to do that. They’re talking about a “20-week ban,” which is not only an attack on women but it’s also for people like yourself—that if you continue to stay true to your principles and provide abortions for women, it could actually mean a jail sentence for you.

LeRoy Carhart: Oh, absolutely it could. You know, that’s been their goal. In Nebraska we had a clinic and you know, hindsight is 20/20 and maybe we didn’t handle it right. Maybe we should have challenged the 20-week ban in Nebraska, but now it’s in I think, 26 states or something like that. And of course, the federal government is toying with the issue. If it passes, it’ll get tied up in the courts for two to three years; hopefully, long enough to get someone in Washington who has a little bit of empathy for women’s issues and we can avert disaster. I think it all comes down to one thing and until women get out and demand what’s their choice, it’s not gonna happen. Doctors can’t cause it to happen. Politicians can’t cause it to happen unless the women of this country put them there and they’ve been putting them there. It’s time the women wake up and say, “Enough’s, enough! We have to have people who believe in choice and then we’ll worry about what their other issues are.”

Michael Slate: And there’s got to be a lot more people like you; not just abortion providers but also men who stand up and say this is a woman’s basic, fundamental human right to have an abortion and it should not be toyed with. It should not be turned into a crime.... The last time we spoke, you were talking about the clinic you had established in Germantown, Maryland. Then, I read that this clinic no longer exists, that it was forced to close as a result of the kind of stepped-up assaults by anti-abortionists.

LeRoy Carhart: The issue in Germantown came from a small, I think a relatively small, one-parish church and an organization called, “Kick Carhart Out of Maryland,” They were able to raise in six months over $1.6 million to buy the clinic from the present landlords and pay them a significant bonus over what the value of the clinic was. They had to sign that they would never participate in abortion clinic practice again, that was all part of this deal. But, they sold it to the Maryland Coalition for Life who, on the date of the purchase order being signed or the contract, evicted us. That was also part of the negotiations.

So, we had zero notice. In fact, I worked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, that week. Flew home to Nebraska. When I landed in Nebraska in the morning on Thursday, there was an email to call. When I called the clinic manager, she said, “We’ve been evicted. I’m locked out and we can’t get the records.” We ended up even having to go into court to get the medical records out of the hands of the anti-choice people. I mean, the old owners had them but they wouldn’t release them to us because they didn’t feel that that was what they were going to do. Our biggest worry was that they were going to be compromised and the patients compromised.

We now have the records. We were able to win that court suit. But this is a small parish. This is one church and one small organization able to raise $1.6 million in six months to close one clinic. The owners had two clinics that they owned, but they bought one and the other one they just had to step away from. It’s crazy! You know, everything comes down—this issue is like every other issue in life. It’s time and money and that’s what we don’t have. I mean, the women don’t have time because their issues are critical. It may be two to three months from the time they find out they’re pregnant till they can’t have anything else done....

I just know what I think we need to do and that’s to train more doctors. I’d love to see first trimester abortions go back to OB-GYN offices and be done by their primary care doctors. And I think there’s need for specialty abortion clinics after that, because unless you do a lot of something in medicine, you probably shouldn’t do any of it. So, to keep abortions safe and legal, we’re going to need clinics to take care of the women after the first trimester. That’s where we are and that’s what I’m trying to do is to train the doctors to take care or to even give them a chance to realize what the patients need.

In medical schools in this country the doctors are not exposed to patients who are in need of terminations, so they never have any idea what the patients are going through. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been working closely with some of the medical programs to have their docs just come in, sit and talk to the patients; understand why they’re here and understand that this is not a black and white issue. This is really, well, I guess it kind of is a black and white issue. It’s the mother’s decision of what this child is going to bring into her life—either a lifetime of joy or a lifetime of disaster. She’s the only one who knows the answer to that issue.

Michael Slate: There was kind of a special significance to this forced shutdown in that it was one of the few clinics in the country that provided abortion no matter what. No matter if it was at the very beginning of a pregnancy or if it was a late term. If a woman needed it, you would give it to her. Let’s talk about the importance of that.

LeRoy Carhart: Right now, there are three clinics that are willing to admit that we’re doing the later abortions. There are three docs in Albuquerque, New Mexico and there’s one doctor in Boulder [Colorado] and there’s myself on the East Coast. Just the fact that you’re willing to tell people that you’re out there for them, it takes a serious amount of deciding to give up your own personal safety and personal life. I mean, we know that we’re going to be harassed if we tell the people that this is what we’re doing. But, the women also need to know that our services are available, because we had a patient a couple weeks ago, right after we opened here, 28 or 29 weeks pregnant with a baby that could not survive, she had been told at 24 weeks there was nothing she could do. And it wasn’t until the word about the closing of this clinic and the unavailability hit the media, that she went to her doctors and said, “You can’t tell me that there’s nothing I can do. I need to find them.” She eventually found us on the internet and at 29 weeks was able to take care of her problem. It should have been taken care of at 24 or 25 weeks.

And so we can’t blame women for choosing late abortions or late term abortions. I hate that definition because as I said before, “late term” is the day after conception in some people’s mind. Later gestation, advanced gestation abortions, they happen because of a myriad of problems. I don’t think one ever happens because, [a woman says] “Well, I’ve been pregnant for 28 weeks so, I think I don’t want it anymore.” That’s just not there.

Michael Slate: That’s a very important point and this gets into the importance of independent abortion clinics and providers—something that you’ve always fought for. It’s extremely important that women are able to find clinics like what you’re operating, because it comes down to basically, not just an assault on the rights of women but an assault on, as you have said, the actual humanity of women and their ability to actually control their own bodies; to do what they need and feel they have to or want to do. And people should know that your clinic was not shut down in Maryland. You did rise up and start a whole new clinic. Tell people about that.

LeRoy Carhart: We were able to find a building. Actually, it has about a third more space than the last clinic did. It was close enough so we could keep the same staff, so we lost nobody as far as the trained staff. In any business, a good staff is the key to your success. It’s not what you bring to it, it’s what you select and help find other people to train them to do to make it really a good issue. We have better hours. We’re going to be able to provide service longer. I’ve had requests from doctors to come and be trained to start doing abortions with us and then look to the point of maybe branching out and opening another practice somewhere else in the country.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/michael-slate-interviews-sam-menefee-libey-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Michael Slate Interviews Sam Menefee-Libey on Trial of Inauguration Day Protesters

“This really is very frightening”

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from a December 1, 2017 interview on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio with Sam Menefee-Libey of the Dead City Legal Posse about the trial of protesters who were arrested in Washington, DC, last January 20, Trump’s Inauguration Day.

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 and people can listen to or download archived shows.

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: A few weeks ago I first spoke with Sam Menefee-Libey of the Dead City Legal Posse talking about defending the Inauguration Day protesters and about his involvement in taking up the fight around that. These are people facing 60 years in prison in a vengeful attack on the right to protest and especially the right to protest against the Führer—for daring to stand up and fight against the Trump regime. Sam is back to talk with us. Sam, welcome to the show.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Thanks for having me back, Michael. 

Michael Slate: OK, the trial has begun for six of the 230 defendants, known collectively as the J20 Defendants, who are facing a possible 60 years in prison for demonstrating against the Trump Inauguration. So Sam, what’s going on now? Where are things at?

Sam Menefee-Libey: Your listeners may remember that back on Inauguration Day there was an anti-fascist, anti-capitalist march where folks who were assaulted by police for over a half an hour and then eventually kettled and over 230 people were held and mass-arrested. They were blanket charged with felony riot. A couple months later, in April, there was a superseding indictment that added a bunch of different additional felony counts: incitement to riot, engaging in riot, conspiracy to riot, and five counts of property destruction charged under conspiracy liability. The judge finally at the beginning of November recognized the fact that the defense had identified right away, which is the fact that there is no actual felony charge for engaging or conspiracy to riot and so this was reduced to misdemeanors. Now there are 194 people left. The vast majority are facing six felonies and two misdemeanors and the first six are on trial this week. We just finished the sixth day of the jury trial.

Michael Slate: So let’s talk about this. Is there really evidence of something that would support a conspiracy to riot charge?

Sam Menefee-Libey: The government is presenting, throwing a lot of stuff out there. They’re showing a lot of video, they’re showing certain messages taken off of people’s phones and most of it is just planning a protest. There’s actually a video shown in court on Tuesday that was taken by the ultra-conservative right-wing propaganda outfit Project Veritas undercover. The U.S. Attorney’s Office elected to show a 35-minute video that was taken by Veritas despite Veritas’s long track record of deceptive and devious practices. Then the U.S. Attorney’s Office actually tried to hide the source of the video, originally, and tried to just say it was from a citizen. But the defense was able to note that it was from Project Veritas.

It’s a 35-minute video of a planning meeting of a protest. There’s lots of discussion of keeping safe and making sure that we are standing in solidarity with each other and that we’re dedicated to anti-racist principles. I think that folks are waiting a big bombshell, and instead it was just a protest planning meeting, that was then corroborated by an undercover police officer. We’ve learned a lot about the Metropolitan Police Department intelligence gathering practices in this trial, and it turns out that they have a standard operating procedure for infiltrating what they call “anti-establishment groups” that are engaged in first amendment activity. So it’s been a very interesting week and so far there’s been a very, very little particularized evidence of any of the six people that are actually on trial and most of the stuff they are actually presenting is just video of that day and meetings that they plan to protest.

Michael Slate: You know one of the things that really got me too is the whole way they painted this. I mean, it is true that this Veritas group has a reputation, a well-deserved reputation as, oh can we say, what? Pigs? 

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah. So there was very interesting testimony on Wednesday and Thursday from the commander of the civil disturbance unit of the Metropolitan Police Department that day, Commander Keith Deville, and he commented at length about how proud he is to facilitate people’s First Amendment rights. But then in the radio runs that they play, he repeatedly differentiates between protestors and anarchists and he seems fully preoccupied with anarchists. It was very telling to watch him repeatedly testify that officers used restraint despite emptying multiple gallons of pressured cans of pepper spray from MK-46 pepper spray canisters, which are nicknamed by the police as super-soakers, that they threw dozens of stinger grenades which have rubber cluster munitions and are concussion grenades. It was really stunning to see all of that and to have it constantly come back to the cops just totally, unabashedly talking about really profiling people.

Michael Slate: What they’re doing with this Project Veritas and the filming and all this other stuff and the cop being present in the meeting is that they really are trying to lay the groundwork to push a conspiracy charge straight up, right? 

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yes, yes. I mean the five property destruction charges, which are five of the six felony charges that folks are facing—that’s 50 of the 61 year potential sentence—are charged under conspiracy liability. So yeah, that is what they’re pushing, and we’re really learning a lot about how the Metropolitan Police Department apparently has a bunch of standard operating procedures for actually going after and doing intelligence gathering on first amendment activities. They do it surreptitiously with undercover officers, and it’s very disturbing. 

Michael Slate: Let’s talk about this other thing that’s been also very disturbing for anybody who reads about this—the precedent-setting moves by the prosecution demanding names and the email addresses of—are you ready for this, folks?—1.3 million people who visited the Inauguration Day protest website. They’ve also been allowed to search Facebook messages comments and friends’ lists.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, I mean there’s been a tremendous amount of overreach from the very beginning... The legal theories are incredibly broad and scary, the warrants that they’ve put out. They’ve even raided someone’s house on the strength of apparently that video that they showed in court, and took a bunch of stuff… just a bunch of innocuous things. They took his anti-fascist flag because apparently having an anti-fascist flag is a bad thing. The digital search warrants have been frightening. They were asking for IP addresses for folks who have visited DisruptJ20.org because Disrupt J20 was the umbrella organization that facilitated a bunch of autonomous protests that day. They’re just sort of repeatedly asking for things that shock the conscious of the average person, and we’re really stunned that a number of judges allow them to do so all over again—from the judge admitting the Veritas video as evidence to allowing the search warrants to go forth with only minor changes.

Michael Slate: Now let’s talk about Alexei Wood, a journalist.

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah he’s one of the six [people now on trial]. Alexei is a photo journalist who actually live-streamed the whole march, and so they’re using his video as evidence. But he clearly didn’t engage in any property destruction because he was live-streaming himself the entire time. They’re charging him with conspiracy along with everyone else. He and another journalist, Aaron Cantú, are still facing charges. Both of them are freelancers anyone who cares about press freedom should also be incredibly concerned about that. 

Michael Slate: When we last spoke, was it Alexei Wood’s camera work, his films, that they were trying to seize and use in the trial?

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, so they did seize the camera and multiple SD cards. I think it’s actually creating more trouble for them than they were hoping, because it has a bunch of his photojournalist work on it and a bunch of his photographer-for-hire work on it. It supports the fact that he was, in fact, there as a photographer and as a videographer. But yeah, they seized all of his equipment, and they’re using his video, the live-stream video that he took, against everyone.

Michael Slate: It’s clear that the prosecutor is trying to build a conspiracy case. But basically from what I’ve read from what other people have said, and what you’ve said, they’re not anywhere near proving any kind of conspiracy case. So what are they doing?

Sam Menefee-Libey: You know, I think that is a big question. I think that they’re hoping to establish precedence for a lower standard for proving conspiracy. And they’re hoping to—they simply say that showing up to a protest that was publicly advertised as an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march where folks should wear black, if you showed up and wore black and stayed after some minor property destruction, that you then were automatically part of the conspiracy. The judge has even had several really ominous rulings on sitting case law where conspiracy can be spontaneous and non-verbal so they really are pushing, that if you went to this protest and you stayed and you were still present after property destruction occurred, that means you become part of the conspiracy. It is terrifying.

Michael Slate: And if you raised an eyebrow there in the crowd, you can also be made part of the conspiracy, right? 

Sam Menefee-Libey: Yeah, they’re also saying that people chanting is evidence of conspiracy. This really is very frightening.

Michael Slate: All right, Sam, you have a wrap-up thing you want to tell people before we go?

Sam Menefee-Libey: My organization, DC Legal Posse, has been around but also Defend J20 Resistance has been great—and you can find more information on DefendJ20Resistance.org and you can donate money, you can provide support for defendants....

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/awtwns-angela-merkel-humiliation-and-call-for-muslim-holocaust-in-poland-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

From A World to Win News Service:

Angela Merkel’s Humiliation and the Call for a “Muslim Holocaust” in Poland

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us editors’ note: We made several edits to the original article to help readers who may be unfamiliar with the important issues discussed here: a section on Poland was made into an accompanying box, and footnotes and subheads were added.

November 29, 2017. A World to Win News Service. Surprise and shock rattled all of Europe when the AfD (Alternative for Germany) more than doubled its previous score in the September federal elections and entered the German parliament. Unfortunately, many people saw this turn of events as an anomaly in a self-correcting system. How could fascists have deep and durable appeal in a country they already brought to disaster in World War 2? The four parties that have governed Germany in various combinations since the War had held out hope that by making concessions to AfD’s anti-immigration demands, they could undercut AfD’s appeal, shore up the political centre and prevent further polarisation.

But the opposite happened. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been unable to put together a new governing coalition. This has produced Germany’s most serious political crisis since it emerged from the war’s rubble. The consequences are all the more potentially far-reaching because Germany has been an essential pillar of political stability in Europe. Many people would like to see “Mother” Merkel become “the leader of the free world,” an alternative to everything Trump represents. She has been, incontrovertibly, the most steadfast representative of the social-democratic and politically liberal consensus that has prevailed in the West since the war, an order Trump and his ilk are out to demolish.

The problem is not only that none of the mainstream parties won a majority, or even just that all lost many voters to the AfD. More importantly, the whole political mainstream is continuing to bleed legitimacy. No matter what Merkel comes up with to patch up the immediate governmental crisis, her impotence and desperation reveal the degree to which the AfD has seized the initiative. It is forcing the other parties to react to it, to adopt parts of its programme and discourse, in fear that otherwise they may further discredit themselves and strengthen the fascists even more. In turn, this legitimises the fascists and feeds their voracious hunger for power. This dynamic is now driving political developments.

The AfD started out as a “Eurosceptic”1 party, criticizing European Union “cosmopolitanism” for not serving “our” best interests. This focus on the country, which, in context, can only mean the interests of the monopoly capitalist-imperialists who run it, has shifted to a focus on “the nation,” whether defined by “Germanness,” as some more polite ideologues of the governing parties have put it, or “blood,” as Nazi-nostalgic fascists prefer. No matter what other issues may be dear to the hearts of other parties (like Germany’s outrageous, calculated dependence on dirty coal), the AfD has succeeded in making immigration the central question for the entire political spectrum. While ideas similar to those of the AfD have long been implied by ideologues of the ruling parties, the fascists have stripped them of their ambiguity and mounted them on a fiery cross: people who are not like “us” have no place on German or European soil....

Reactionary Values and the Rise of Fascism

In reaction to all this, some people, in academia and the streets, argue that it’s “natural” for human beings to be worried by the presence of people not like “us.” Almost all commentators will tell you that Merkel’s humiliation was “caused” by her 2015 decision to accept a million immigrants.

This ignores the demagogic dimension of today’s politics. While Germany has become home to many more immigrants than Poland, the AfD’s biggest following is in regions with relatively fewer immigrants. In Poland, there are few immigrants at all, and even fewer Muslims. The physical presence of foreigners does not explain the rise of fascism.

At the same time, it is true that a basic feature of today’s imperialist world—the division of the globe into the feasting and the fed upon—has become so unbearable that millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America would rather risk death than accept the future that a country oppressed by imperialism can offer them. This, in turn, is seen as a threat to the serenity and stability of Europe. There is a real crisis of imperialist domination, and it’s most important effect is in the superstructure, the ideas and modes of thinking that correspond to the way societies are organized.

In a recent article entitled, “It’s the Kultur, Stupid,” historian Timothy Garton Ash uses opinion surveys and statistical analysis of the German vote to disprove the view that the AfD’s success can be explained by economic hardship. Although its strongholds are in the former East Germany, an area relatively disadvantaged by imperialist globalization, the AfD drew significant support from all but one voting district across the country. Most of its supporters report their economic situation as “good” or “very good.” Rather than pocketbook issues, what most concerns them is the weakening of the values they feel should hold together German society, “country, family and religion”—themes paramount for Trump’s U.S. social base.

Until recently, Merkel, along with other mainstream European leaders (and the EU central apparatus itself) has been identified with “multiculturalism,” the idea that their societies should welcome and tolerate people of different cultures. There’s much hypocrisy and blindness to oppression in the way this is practiced. In France, by comparison, all political parties hold that foreigners should assimilate into the dominant culture. But in both Germany and France, a key question is the character of that dominant culture, and the dangers posed by its weakening.

Fascists throughout the West have constantly complained that the liberal democratic forces who have been governing the imperialist order have not been sufficiently tough in dealing with reactionary jihadist forces opposing them, particularly in the Middle East—in his election campaign, Trump repeatedly snarled that “Obama is weak!”, and openly brandished the use of torture. But these reactionaries also falsely conflate Islam in general with reactionary fundamentalism and jihad, and perceive Islamic fundamentalism as being everything they think the West should be but is not: societies obedient to traditional authority, cohered by religion, based on “the family” (patriarchy, traditional gender and other oppressive relationships) and aggressively determined to remake the world in that image. Some fascists in the U.S. have even called for “white Sharia,”2 especially meaning forcing women to return to the home and a husband’s authority.

In imperialist as well as dominated countries, the rise of ever more extreme reactionary world outlooks is a reaction to the undermining of ways of life corresponding to so-called “family values” by the workings of the imperialist world system and the accelerating effects of globalization, making neighbourhoods, regions and societies around the world feel unrecognisable to many inhabitants. The changes in family structure and the position of women is one of the most consequential and deeply-felt factors. For instance, a great many women have been drawn out of the home—literally in Poland, where women make up the majority of the millions who have gone to Germany, the UK and elsewhere to work, leaving fathers and other men behind. This is one of many basic changes in women and men’s lives bringing the way they live into conflict with the patriarchal values they were brought up to believe.

Same Oppressive System Behind Fascists and Established Ruling Parties

Even long before the rise of the AfD, ideologues connected to Germany’s governing parties were discussing the need for a “German leading culture,” in opposition to what was said to be Islamic values (“We are not Burka,” Germany’s Interior Minister put it). The culture of his “we” is defined by the same German patriotism and German-style patriarchy that the bloodthirsty fascists advocate more ferociously. This is one reason why the establishment parties are not able to compete well for hearts and minds in Germany and Poland, as well as elsewhere. They represent the same oppressive capitalist system that perpetuates oppressive relations between people, and they, too, are extremely concerned with not only preserving but strengthening those relationships and the values and thinking that both reflect and enforce them.

While the Enlightenment said to infuse German “leading culture” was associated with essential elements for human progress such as reason, science and the separation of society from the control of the church, it also brought the triumph of capitalism in Europe and opened the way for Europe and North America to impose slavery and depredation on most of the world’s people. Germany’s place in the world, near the top of the world’s biggest predators, and the imperative to advance that position amid today’s turmoil and increasing competition among the world’s powers, is not a point of fundamental disagreement between the mainstream and the fascists. It is considered acceptable among ruling circles to discuss how to free Germany from the “burden” of its past (unburdened by “guilt” so that it can act like WW2 victorious powers such as the U.S. and France, that can send in troops and wield weapons of mass destruction without worrying about domestic public opinion). The AfD just takes this a step further by calling for honouring the German military’s “achievements” in the world wars. Their delegates wore yellow ribbons in solidarity with the German army when they took their seats in the Bundestag.3

So there is an underlying continuity between these positions and discourses, but there are also important differences. One reason for the difference is that the fascists are seeking not only to save all that is most reactionary in today’s “leading culture” but to bring it more into line with what German imperialism really has done, but most fundamentally, what it will very likely have to do now.

Europe’s Treatment of Immigrants—Inhumanity on a Massive Scale

The reason why Merkel and the German mainstream are so ill equipped to take on the fascists politically and in the sphere of ideas is especially clear if we look at how Merkel—and Europe—have handled immigration, both in terms of measures and the ideology behind them.

Just to be clear, Merkel’s original decision to accept a million newcomers to Germany was based on the needs of the German capitalist-imperialist ruling class in the face of the country’s very low birthrate and shrinking population. German “family values” stigmatize mothers who work. Yet German employers need a million more workers a year. Further, it’s harder for these imperialists to throw their weight around without a lot more Germans.

The governing parties now claim that they have to limit immigration out of humanitarian considerations (otherwise fascists would come to power and their rule would be worse). But the reality is that Germany, like the other European powers, is responsible for almost unfathomable inhumanity on a massive scale, aimed against millions of non-Europeans who have just as much reason and right to travel in search of something better as the millions who have left their homes and families behind in Poland and East Germany, even if they haven’t been inculcated with a poisonous sense of entitlement.

Even before Merkel announced a change in policy, Germany had Hungary and other countries do their dirty anti-immigration work by closing the Balkan route northward. Germany made Greece set up horrific “refugee camps” where 15,000 people are spending the wet winter, often in tents and shacks. Germany also embraced its own kind of human trafficking when it offered to pay Turkey for each immigrant sent back from Europe. But the worst is concentrated in Libya, where the chaos produced by cynical imperialist intervention has left a fragmented central state. This has left a breach in the wall of states that have been supported by the West in return for keeping their own and other people from leaving the southern shores of the Mediterranean.

Now the European powers and the U.S. have set up a puppet government in the Libyan capital Tripoli (the so-called Government of National Accord) by backing some warlords against others. After cutting off search-and-rescue operations and criminalizing NGOs and ordinary citizens trying to save people from drowning, this puppet government set up a Libyan “coast guard” apparently run by some of the same militias that had previously been enriching themselves by ferrying immigrants to Europe on unsafe and often doomed vessels. Their new paid mission is to keep immigrants away from Italy and the rest of Europe. In coordination with European authorities, this “coast guard” opens fire on and rams refugee boats in international waters. Those captured at sea and on shore—as many as a million people—are being held in “official” government concentration camps where they are beaten and starved, or turned over to “private” militias operating in government territory. There they are often held for ransom or literally auctioned off as slaves. Once again Europe is delivering black Africans into slavery, not on ships crossing the Atlantic but with policies whose result is the same—while allowing them to pretend their hands are clean.

Germany and other countries have already violated their own and international laws guaranteeing the right of asylum to those fleeing wars and murderous regimes, even if those laws, by distinguishing between refugees and migrants, draw a ridiculous and immoral line between categories of people fleeing a hell not of their own making. Once mainstream political forces have established that some human beings, by birth, have rights and others do not, that only some lives matter, then people have been divided into humans and subhumans. A genocidal logic is embarked upon, no matter what the intent. This ultimately legitimizes the fascists who want to resolve imperialist hypocrisy by calling for open genocide. The bourgeois-democratic regimes cannot more effectively block the rise of fascist forces because their system itself, with its workings and contradictions and its inherent values, both spoken and unspoken, is driving this rise.

The Question: What Will Replace the Old Oppressive Order?

The crumbling of the political, social and ideological order most of us have known all our lives is irreversible. The question is what will replace it. The representatives of that order have no solutions to the crises their system has created. Their values are actually oppressive and highly hypocritical. Because of this, they themselves lack real passion or will to confront fascism. It is time to cast away illusions that these forces can be pushed to “do the right thing” or that playing within the rules of the existing political framework will stop this dynamic. Confronting and defeating the rise of the fascist forces and the poison they are spreading is up to us—to all those who recognize the urgent dangers they pose, and take responsibility for stopping their rise through organized mass resistance. As an indispensable part of this, there is a vital need to get to the roots of why this madness is happening and how it grows out of a worldwide capitalist-imperialist system, and to spread awareness of the fact that there is a real solution to all this that is in the interests of humanity and the planet—a way to organize the world’s people that can put an end to all oppressive relationships between people and liberate humanity’s potential. This is possible guided by the vision and science of the revolutionary communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. So it is extremely urgent to awaken and organize and mobilize as many people as possible to beat back this right-wing lurch as part of the struggle to change the world in the strategic and fundamental interests of the oppressed and all humanity.


1. “Euroscepticism” (also known as “EU-scepticism”) is a political trend that opposes the European Union, the political and economic grouping of 28 countries, for weakening individual nation states. [back]

2. “Sharia” is Islamic religious law. [back]

3. Bundestag is the German parliament. [back]

 

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

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/reader-comments-on-ba-more-on-choices-and-radical-changes-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Reader Comments on: BA’s “More on Choices...and Radical Changes”

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A revcom.us reader posted this comment on “More on Choices...and Radical Changes,” by Bob Avakian (BA):

If we had more of this kind of learning in school via philosophy courses, rhetoric, logic, and ethics, we would be better at knowing how to think instead of what to think. Instead, when I went to school, we all learned that America was the greatest, capitalism was the best, most efficient economic system, communism sucked and that if you couldn’t make it in life, you were either lazy, stupid, or made bad choices and you had no one to blame but yourself. Hardly anyone teaches us to think about the larger forces of system and culture that help to shape humanity into its present forms. Thank goodness for BA and a few other enlightened thinkers who not only envision and offer a plan for a better world, but who teach us how to think about building it!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/wildfires-dead-forests-climate-change-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Wildfires, Dead Forests, Climate Change... and the Need to Act

December 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Huge wildfires are burning in Southern California. As of Thursday, December 7, the fires are raging and are out of control. More than 200,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. The two largest fires, in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, have burned more than 116,000 acres. More than 300 structures have been destroyed. The 101 and 405 freeways, two of the most congested in the area, were closed as flames and smoke danced onto the highways.

These fires are happening just weeks after huge wildfires swept through Northern California for three weeks in October. The damage was horrific. Forty-two people died. More than 250 square miles burned and 8,400 structures were destroyed.  

The destruction caused by the California fires has focused attention on a disturbing pattern: the number and intensity of wildfires is rapidly increasing. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, wildfires in the western United States have been increasing in frequency and duration since the mid-1980s, occurring nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area, and lasting almost five times as long.

While wildfires are a natural part of the forest environment, the increase in number and intensity is being driven in large part by human-caused climate change, along with other factors such as increased construction in the urban-wildland interface and unscientific land management policies. The New York Times reported that researchers found that climate change was responsible for more than half of the dryness of western forests since 1979. Parched landscapes increase fire size and duration.

The increase in wildfires is a global phenomenon. In just June and July of 2017, more than 10,000 people had to flee fires in southern France, more than 60 people were killed in Portugal, nine people died and 10,000 people were evacuated in South Africa and 40,000 people have had to flee wildfires in western Canada.

Today the fire season in the western U.S. stretches, on average, 78 days longer than in the mid-1980s. Higher summer temperatures result in earlier snowmelt. Western forests typically become combustible within a month of when snowmelt is complete. Snowpack melts one to four weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago. In their book Tipping Point for Planet Earth: How Close Are We to the Edge? Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly write, “No longer [in California] is there a ‘fire season’ and an off-season. Fires have become a year-round phenomenon. Wildfires, once recognized as local phenomena mostly controlled by precipitation, are a new global ‘normal,’ mostly controlled by temperature.”

Another factor behind the fires in California has been an increase in strong, dry winds. These are called Diablo winds in Northern California and Santa Ana winds in Southern California. During the wine country fires there were winds of up to 80 miles per hour and winds of similar force are spreading the wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Dying Forests Part 1: Sudden Oak Death

Sudden Oak Death responsible for dead tanoak trees in Oregon. (Credit: Oregon Department of Forestry)

Sudden Oak Death responsible for dead tanoak trees in Oregon. (Credit: Oregon Department of Forestry)

A dramatic increase in the tree-killing disease known as Sudden Oak Death (SOD) helped spread the massive Northern California fires. Living oak trees are relatively resistant to fire. Dead and dying oak trees make wildfires hotter and cause them to spread more quickly. Matteo Garbelotto, the director of the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, sampled trees in the Sonoma area prior to the fires and found that 37 percent were infected by SOD, a ten-fold increase compared with two years ago.

SOD is widespread in the coastal regions of Central and Northern California and southern Oregon. Millions of trees have died as a result of the disease.

While it did not bring the SOD pathogen to the United States, climate change has likely played a role in the spread of the disease. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say that climate change is conducive to the spread of SOD, which spreads in warm and wet environments. “Increased temperature and moisture scenarios increased the likelihood of P. ramorum infection in California,” they write.

(Climate change comes about through a complex interaction of many different factors, and global warming has different effects on the climate in different regions. In some areas it can lead to warmer and dryer temperatures and in others warmer and wetter. Other areas could become cooler even as the overall average temperature of the Earth increases.)

A study by Ross Meentemeyer of North Carolina State University and others found that “in the absence of extensive control, we predict a ten-fold increase in [SOD] disease spread between 2010 and 2030 with most infection concentrated along the north coast between San Francisco and Oregon.”

Dying Forests Part 2: Pine Bark Beetle

Lodgepole pines killed by the pine bark beetle.
(Credit: V Smoothe/Creative Commons)

Lodgepole pines killed by the pine bark beetle.
(Credit: V Smoothe/Creative Commons)

The explosive population growth of the pine bark beetle is also destroying forests. Pine bark beetles inhabit ponderosa, whitebark, lodgepole, Scotch, jack pine, and limber pine trees in the western U.S. and Canada. These insects play an important role in the life of a forest, attacking old or weakened trees, and speeding development of a younger forest, according to badbeetle.com.

Prior to about 1990, winter temperatures were low enough to kill off a large number of the beetles each year. The beetles and the trees were in relative ecological equilibrium. As winter temperatures have risen, the beetle population has increased exponentially.

The pine bark beetle has killed billions of trees, likely the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded, nearly 10 times the size of past eruptions. “A doubling would have been remarkable,” entomologist Diana Six told Mother Jones. “Ten times screams that something is really going wrong.”

In their book, Barnosky and Hadly describe the effect: “What used to be tens of millions of acres of mature green forest when we were growing up and when our kids were born are now dead sticks reaching for the sky, from New Mexico all the way up the Rocky Mountain chain through Canada and into Alaska. That’s why as you drive through that part of the world, in places you will find that 60 to 80 percent of the trees are dead. All that death happened in the course of a decade.”

“We’re talking millions of trees killed, whole mountain sides dying,” Dr. David Rizzo of UC Davis told the Guardian newspaper. A recent aerial survey by the U.S. Forest Service tallied 36 million more dead trees in California between May and November 2016.

The devastation of forests has been most marked in the West, but all forests in this country are in danger. “Our analysis shows virtually all U.S. forests are now experiencing change and are vulnerable to future declines,” forest researchers from Duke University wrote. “Given the high degree of uncertainty in our understanding of how forest species and stands adapt to rapid change, it’s going to be difficult to anticipate the type of forests that will be here in 20 to 40 years.”

Beyond Repair

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

This Revolution special issue focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and Earth's ecosystems.

Read the section "Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development"

Read the entire issue online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

“There’s virtually nothing you can do to stop the beetles, either, unless they’ve killed everything and run out of food. Or unless the climate cools, and I don’t think anyone’s expecting that anytime soon.”

—Diana Six, entomologist, University of Montana

While it is not the only factor involved in the increase in wildfires and the spread of forest pathogens, climate change is transforming and harming the Earth in ways that CANNOT be repaired.

Forests play a crucial role in the environment. They provide clean water, lock up carbon (the main cause of climate change) and shelter whole ecosystems. Devastated forests leave birds, mammals and other living things that rely on them without food, shelter or the means for survival. The destruction of forest areas contributes to what is called a negative feedback loop, where increased temperatures and other climate changes kill trees and forests, which, because the trees no longer lock up carbon, increases global warming, leading to more dying trees, and on and on.

The Need to Act

In the face of all of this and many other manifestations of climate change, Trump and his regime are actively sabotaging any attempts to deal with this. They are attacking climate change science and working to destroy the infrastructure that scientists and the government have built up over years to study and monitor changes in climate; they are censoring scientists; and they are doing what they can to unleash more burning of fossil fuels, which accelerates climate change.

One of humanity’s goals should be to protect the precious resources of our planet and to leave it in better shape for future generations. The Earth’s forests, and much else, have already been damaged in ways that cannot be reversed. We must act NOW, with the urgency that the situation demands, to stop Trump and Co. from destroying the planet.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/honduran-people-erupt-in-protest-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

U.S. Puppet Hernandez Accused of Election Fraud: Honduran People Erupt in Protest!

December 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Honduran government declared a 10-day state of siege Friday night, December 1, in response to the massive eruption of protests by hundreds of thousands of people, day and night, against what is widely seen to be blatant election fraud by the current U.S. puppet dictator, Juan Orlando Hernández, and his National Party. The people have been bravely defying the state of siege and the 6 pm to 6 am curfew since it was declared.

Salvador Nasralla, a radio personality and sports reporter representing the Oppositional Alliance Against Dictatorship, a coalition of different parties, had a five percent lead at the first count of ballots. Yet soon, supposed computer glitches and other election “mysteries” appeared, and Hernández suddenly took the lead. The results of the election have still not been announced, 12 days since the vote. Nasralla has refused to concede and is calling for either a runoff election or a full recount of the vote. This political turmoil has created an opening for the pent-up anger of the Honduran people to pour into the streets.

One observer reported from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, on Democracy Now! (December 2): “[T]he first night of the toque de queda, or curfew, has been called the Black Night, because of the amount of death, because of the amount of blood that was shed. That next day, there was what’s called the cacerolazo, the banging of pots and pans. And when you stepped outside the doors in Tegucigalpa, it sounded like there wasn’t a single household in the whole city that wasn’t banging on pots and pans. It was a symphony of pots and pans, of joy, of yelling, of defiance. In many neighborhoods, people were flooding out of their homes in open defiance of extreme levels of militarization, and making very clear that the will of the Honduran people is not broken. And the day after that, there were over 100,000 in the streets....”

Hernández deployed U.S.-trained military police units, called TIGRES and Cobras, to carry out repression against protesters. Journalists have been detained and deported. Accurate reports of mass arrests, deaths, and injuries of protesters by the police and military are difficult to verify. As of December 5, there were reports of police teargassing whole neighborhoods, injuring hundreds who were flooding to local hospitals, and arresting several hundred. There are at least 16 dead, including 19-year-old Kimberly Fonseca, shot in the head by the military as she protested in the early hours Saturday, December 2.

On December 4, Honduran police, including the TIGRES and Cobras, announced that they would no longer enforce the curfew and crackdown against the protesters. A TIGRES spokesperson said: “We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe.” This announcement was celebrated by the people. Yet, despite their honeyed words, the TIGRES includes graduates of the (now renamed) U.S. “School of the Americas” at Fort Benning, Georgia—a “school for mass murderers and torturers,” as an article in the revcom.us American Crime series described it. Whether this  stoppage is temporary or more extended, it cannot be forgotten that these forces are trained by the U.S. military and act in the interests of U.S. imperialism, which has no intention of losing control of Honduras.

Hernández was elected president in 2014. The Honduran constitution prohibited a president from being elected for a second term. But that didn’t stop Hernández; he led a move to fire four members of the Supreme Court and replace them with his cronies, and the court later changed the constitution to make it “legal” for him to run for reelection.

Hernández came to power through a 2009 coup that removed then-President Manuel Zelaya, carried out under the justification that Zelaya was violating the constitution by considering running again. Zelaya had become closely allied with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, as well as with Bolivia and Cuba, all seen by the U.S. as obstacles to their domination of the region. Then-U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew days ahead of time that the Honduran coup was in the works, and Clinton played a crucial role in enabling the coup's success.

The 2009 coup brought to power a thoroughly pro-U.S. and more openly fascistic regime. This plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination, state-sponsored political assassinations and terrorism, and intensified violence, poverty, and oppression that continues today. Credible estimates are that 200 LGBT activists, 100 journalists, and a dozen environmental activists, including renowned Berta Cáceres, have been murdered by state forces, security guards, or hired assassins in recent years. A report earlier this year from the British group Global Witness exposed that more than 120 people have been murdered in Honduras since 2010 for “standing up to companies that grab land and trash the environment.”

The Trump/Pence regime has a great deal at stake in restoring order in Honduras—under their control—before the rebellion of the people deepens. Honduras has long been a staging area for the U.S. in directing campaigns of murder and mayhem in Central America, and has received large amounts of military and other aid. Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who, as head of the U.S. military’s Southern Command worked with Hernandez, recently called him “a good guy, and a great friend.” Hernández just made a trip to Washington, DC, returning to Honduras to announce the state of siege. And just two days after the contested election, Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, green-lighted millions more dollars for the training of the Honduran armed forces and police.

The U.S. imperialist military has closely directed the actions of the armed enforcers of reactionary violence in Honduras. Any further bloodshed at the hands of the U.S-backed regime there must be opposed, especially by people in the U.S. If the U.S. military intervenes more directly in Honduras, there need to be protests in the streets of this country and around the world.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/520/another-pig-walks-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Another pig walks after murdering an unarmed man crawling on the floor, crying, and pleading for his life

December 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

A Mesa, Arizona, pig, Philip Brailsford, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter of Daniel Shaver, despite the fact that a video of the murder clearly shows Shaver was unarmed, crawling on the floor, and begging for his life.

The five-minute video, which was just released to the public, shows Shaver coming out of a hotel room with his hands up. He then gets on the ground with his hands on his head. He is given a series of commands by the cops, and he follows them. Shaver tells the cops that he’s “sorry” and then, as he is sobbing and putting his hands in the air begs to them, “Please do not shoot me.” He is told to crawl towards the pig. As he is crawling forward, it appears as if Shaver is trying to pull his pants up when the pig unloads his AR-15 rifle into Shaver. The pig’s rifle had the phrase, “You’re Fucked,” etched into it.

The cops were called to the hotel because someone saw Shaver with a gun. Two pellet guns that Shaver used in his pest-control job were found in the hotel room.

Once again, a murdering pig walks free with jury’s verdict telling these murdering pigs that shooting an unarmed person is legal in Amerikkka.

From BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian:

Editor’s note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed this.

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 2:16

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/doug-jones-victory-wont-stop-trump-pence-fascism-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Doug Jones' Victory Won't Stop Trump/Pence Fascism...
Only We Will—By Voting With Our Feet—in the Streets!

December 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


On Tuesday night, Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore to become Alabama’s first Democratic senator in 30 years. There is a sense of euphoria and relief on the part of progressive people—what the media has described as a “stunning upset” and a “political earthquake.”

Yes, it is a relief that Roy Moore, an openly theocratic fascist, was not elected to the Senate, on a platform that stated the last time America was great was during slavery when  “...families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another...Our families were strong, our country had a direction."

Someone who thinks homosexuality should be outlawed and Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress. Someone who was ousted from the Supreme Court of Alabama twice for defying the principle of separation of church and state, with Christian fascist advocacy of the Ten Commandments as the “moral foundation” of U.S. law.  (He was first removed for installing and refusing to remove a two-and-a-half ton monument of the Ten Commandments in front of the state’s judicial building, and then after being elected again, removed for ordering lower court judges in Alabama to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and refusing to issue marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples.)

But what actually happened on Tuesday? Doug Jones barely won the state, with about 21,000 more votes than Moore received out of over 1.3 million vote cast. While Black people turned out to vote, likely in response to the vile white supremacy advocated by Moore, the only reason Moore lost was that a small sliver of people—22,000—who typically vote Republican couldn’t stomach pulling the lever with the drumbeat of allegations against him on predatory sexual behavior—but couldn’t stomach voting for Jones either, so they cast write-in votes. Even though Trump and most of the Republican leadership lined up behind Moore, with endorsements, proxy campaign rallies (Trump in Pensacola), or statements of support to the effect that this is “the choice of the people of Alabama.” In other words, the nakedly Christian fascist and slavery-loving program got a “pass” by most of the voters in Alabama and the Republican leadership... with all of this, the fascist theocratic agenda got a major boost, and this should not be under-estimated!

And Doug Jones, the reasonable alternative compared to Moore? He ran as a “tough-on-crime” Democrat! He fully backs the murderous U.S. military as he has stated in an interview with AI.com: “You have to be smart about how money is spent. The federal budget is very large and it contains many components. But I think in today's world, defense spending is very important, making sure we have a capable and modern military to protect this country is incredibly important. That is the most paramount thing.”

Jones not only refused to sound the alarm about the grave danger the Trump/Pence regime represents to humanity, much less expose its fascist character, he is now calling for reaching out to the racists, misogynists, and other “deplorables” who voted for Trump and Roy Moore! In a press conference after the election, talking about a congratulatory call from Trump, Jones said they talked about seeking “common ground” —on what, pray we ask? On the preservation of white supremacist monuments, on deportation of immigrants, on potential war against North Korea and in the Middle East, on the attacks on the media and rule of law ... or on “infrastructure and jobs,” the favorite Democratic trope... which is just another term for normalizing a fascist regime, with momentum and dynamic seeking to consolidate fascist rule?

So this was no great shift.  It was no “political earthquake.” And there will be none, and no progress of any kind without frontally exposing, denouncing, and actively protesting white supremacy, patriarchy and the oppression of women, and American chauvinism—and the notion that American lives are more important than other people’s lives, and so the U.S. is justified in committing murder and mayhem across the globe. 

This is the “triad” of reaction at the heart of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and it’s a triad that the Democrats will not and cannot call out and seriously oppose. Why? Because the Democrats are a ruling class party (even as many oppressed and working people cast votes for them), representing the same capitalist-imperialist system that Trump does, and they have no fundamental answers to the accursed horrors: the wars for empire, the oppression of Black people, of women, of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment. With significant and qualitative differences with Trump on the nature of the social compact in the U.S., the cohering norms of bourgeois democracy (see “The Trump/Pence Regime Is Not “Self‑Destructing”), and the best way to project and enforce U.S. interests around the world, nevertheless they are not willing to risk the stability of the system in calling out the horrors and illegitimacy of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, or calling out the people into the streets to protest and oppose this regime.

       

The Deadly Illusion of Working and Waiting for 2018

Now the Democrats are claiming they have “momentum,” and a “blueprint” to defeat the Republicans in all 50 states. They’re telling people—including the millions who have a deep gut-hatred of Trump and a deep desire to see the whole direction his regime is plunging the world reversed—to put their hopes, energy, and money into electing Democrats in 2018. That is, they are not calling for mass protests and outrage but working to channel this outrage into the electoral calculus of the Democrats.

There are many reasons this is a deadly illusion. Here are three:

First: victories by Doug Jones and other Democrats in recent elections have done absolutely nothing to halt the deadly momentum of the Trump/Pence fascist regime—including its threats and preparations to wage war. Two days after Jones’ victory, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley conducted a made-for-TV demonstration of how Iran was threatening the Middle East, reminiscent of Colin Powell’s performance before the UN on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Tensions with North Korea are extremely high and the U.S. could launch a preemptive and potentially cataclysmic attack at any time.

And if Trump did feel his regime was in danger of being ousted, thwarted, or even losing ground, that could propel him to launch a war to demand Democrats and people broadly rally around his regime as their patriotic duty in a time of “national emergency.” The Democrats’ fundamental unity with Trump on the need to maintain U.S. global dominance, including in the Middle East and the Asian-Pacific region would compel them to “rally ‘round the flag,” as they repeatedly did when George W. Bush was in power. If you doubt this, just listen to what candidate Doug Jones told Alabama voters in the face of Trump/Pence military escalations and massive increase in military spending: “a strong national defense is incredibly important.”

Linked to these moves, each and every day the policies this regime has enacted are wreaking enormous damage against Black and other oppressed peoples; against women; against immigrants; against the environment; and against people across the world—from the Korean Peninsula, to Afghanistan, to Yemen, to Palestine, to Iraq and beyond.

There is in fact a greater danger of the fascist regime “doubling down” on its agenda in the face of challenges, compelled by its own logic! This is what Trump has consistently done in the face of trials—from the start of his campaign all the way to the present, and it is part of the fascist playbook and logic.

Second, electing more Democrats isn’t going to stop or get rid of Trump/Pence. While Democratic Party leadership has consistently ruled impeachment out of order , others like Senator Gillibrand have started voicing calls for this. Even with all this, in the face of Republican dominance of all branches of government, a few election wins are not going to provide the Democrats with what is required to actually oust a fascist regime from power, a regime backed by powerful and significant sections of the evangelical movement, national security and enforcement establishment, and vile fascist thugs. With the upheaval and the chaos involved, most fundamentally, the Democrats are not going to risk the stability of this system, for they are part of the ruling class, for whom, even with very significant differences, “fascism is a matter of taste.”  Without massive mass protests that shake the system to political crisis, there is the lack of the necessary compulsion, possibility, and feasible mechanics to oust this regime.

Third, thanks to the legacy of slavery, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, the electoral deck is still stacked in favor of the Republicans and fascists. Just look at Alabama! In a state that’s nearly 30 percent African-American, of seven congressional representatives, only one is Black (and she and Jones are the only Democrats from Alabama in Congress)!

As we have stated before, and it remains still true, 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 is neither going to continue as an open-ended possibility, nor will it 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. There is no easy way out, no shortcut and no way around what this will take: millions of people demanding Trump/Pence Must Go!—voting in the streets with their feet to make this happen.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/521/digging-into-ba-on-fascism-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

The Bob Avakian Institute Leads a Discussion on the Film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

“Where does he start, why, where does he go, and what did you think?”

December 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This question began a recent discussion of Bob Avakian’s filmed speech, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. The film showing and discussion itself was sponsored by The Bob Avakian Institute last week in Chicago.

The audience was diverse in regard to age, background, experience, and point of view—though all were pretty firmly against the Trump/Pence regime and just about everybody had been acting against it. Many of the people there had seen the film, some more than once. Yet people found themselves able and wanting to dive back in and go deeper. At the end, someone remarked that what was different in this discussion was the way that the leader of it kept taking people back to the content that BA was putting out there, and to the method and approach behind that content. While there’s a lot to be done in the immediate, and a whole lot of things that always get sparked in people’s thinking when they watch BA, including ideas on what to do, this person thought it was important that things kept getting returned to the actual content of what we had been watching.

People grappled in particular with just how deeply embedded in U.S. history and reality, and overall human history, this fascist movement is—all the different layers of causes and dynamics that led to this moment. From that initial vantage point, and going deeper as we went, people were able to weigh and approach objectively all the things they ran into—for instance, that the Constitution would prevent fascism. They were sparked to think about the whole world and the developments over the past decades—including the rise of Christian fascism (with one person bringing in parallel developments in Latin America).

 The “Great Tautological Fallacy” sparked people to make a lot of connections—from the history and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, to the way the culture promotes superheroes and wars and does NOT promote the real history, the content of “taking a knee,” and the importance of the upsurges against police murder a few years ago and sexual abuse today. People did telling exposure of what the Europeans did to Native Americans, including vicious massacres singling out “Two Spirit”1 people in particular.

The Alabama election where Roy Moore was just barely defeated was on people’s minds and came into the discussion in ways that deepened an appreciation for what is in this talk by BA—both the point on the straight line from the Confederacy to Trump, and the ways in which this is exposed and pursued in the speech.

This was part of an overall emphasis in the discussion on BA’s focus on slavery in the U.S.—why did he go there so heavily? What light did this shed on things—and how did it differ from other analyses, other “frameworks of understanding?” Again, quite a few people went at this point, bringing in different dimensions and different understandings.

People were led to contrast this at one point with a recent speech by Obama, where slavery and other outrages are presented as somehow counter to the main foundations and direction of U.S. history and society—including the fact that Obama talked constantly in this speech about “different narratives,” in contrast to going for the truth and unsparingly confronting it; that is, what is modeled in BA’s speech.2

Why is something like this so crucial for a critical mass of people to understand? Why must people very broadly be exposed to this—and yet why can people still act, based on what they do know, even as they are learning more and wrangling with—including disagreeing in part with—the analysis that’s in here? This too came up for grappling and there is more to explore about those dynamics.

Due to time constraints, the discussion was not able to do much more than touch on other critical and major themes of the talk by BA in their own right—the emergence and role of Christian fascism in the U.S., the U.S. role in fueling the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the big challenges that the U.S. empire is facing around the world, and the problems of American chauvinism expressed in the Great Tautological Fallacy. Nor could we go that deeply into the problems facing the U.S. rulers that have led to the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist solutions, or BA’s analysis of why the Democrats have no real answers that are in the interests of humanity and why it is so imperative to have a movement of millions to drive out the Trump/Pence regime for humanity’s sake and if there is any hope of getting to a better world. The point was made—there are layers and layers to this talk, and a need to spread it and get more deeply into it, and to keep discussing and thinking about what is in there.

There was time to watch and discuss one question and answer from the speech—BA’s response to the question as to why the American people were not more incensed and ready to protest at U.S. outrages against other countries (Korea, in this case) and what this had to do with the chances to really prevent the full consolidation of fascism.

 People really “felt” the question, and wrangled with it. They commented on the repressive state laws against protest pointed to by BA, the Great Tautological Fallacy (again), and the way the “windows are closing” on the chance to actually stop this—all as part of BA’s emphasis on the need and basis to struggle with people about all of this.

Here too people grappled with the content of the answer but also—and even more fundamentally—how BA approached this. There were no shortcuts or easy answers; if anything, BA brought in other dimensions of the problem as well, even as he was exploring paths of possible solution. You got the feeling of someone confronting, grappling with, and working on a problem—and inviting others into that grappling. There was not a hint of anything pat or precooked or designed to “buck people’s spirits up.”

The program had opened with an introduction about the work of BA, its significance for the whole world, and the particular role of The Bob Avakian Institute in relation to that. It closed with the leader of the discussion coming back to that significance—and saying that there was no way that anything good can come out of the situation in the world today without humanity really grappling with this work; at the same time, if that did happen, a future could be forged that was far different, even beautiful, despite the damage and destruction of the environment and people that so directly looms before and weighs on us.

 


1. People in Native cultures who did not strictly conform to conventional “male” or “female” gender roles. [back]

2. On December 5, 2017, Obama spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago. This speech is significant on different levels, and a full analysis of it deserves to be done. But for the purposes of this article, Obama said: “The America I know is based on freedom of press and religion, endorses free markets, is willing to be part of big global problems such as Zika. The other narrative is America First, for people who want to find security and are looking for simple answers in the face of massive disruptions in the workplace due to automation and globalization. The technology revolution has made it easy to deliver powerful stories that cause people to question their basic assumptions, leading to a clash of cultures. The question is whether we will resort to nationalism as part of our need to assert our superiority over others or whether we will go back to a narrative that people all over the world aspire to.” [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/digging-in-and-scientifically-summing-up-en.html

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017

Party Unit Discussion on Refuse Fascism

Digging In & Scientifically Summing Up

December 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA says the following about Party units:

Party units combine the strengths of their members and collectively approach the world, and making revolution, with sweep and rigor; imagination and thoroughness; creativity and perseverance; and struggle and unity. The unit is the principal site where members work to systematically grasp and apply, deepen and develop, and struggle over the line of the party. Units base themselves on the theory/practice/theory dynamic, leading their members in the ongoing process of knowing and transforming the world.

The following report, from a party unit made up of newer comrades, gives a sense of what this means—and has some important insights overall.

December 2017

We sat down with local leadership to discuss some of the questions that were forwarded to all comrades and Revolution Club members to help guide summation.

We began by discussing our overall thoughts provoked by the materials by BA, as well as other material on revcom.us and elsewhere, about the current situation. We’ve each individually been going back to different works of BA, articles on revcom.us, as well as other things coming from different perspectives that speak to the current situation but that don’t necessarily recognize the fascist character of the regime.

In going back to other works by BA in addition to the new talk, I was struck by the need to actually keep going back to what’s concentrated in the method. We have to take it up more fully and fight with people to go there and take it up. BA speaks in the new talk about how people who were all caught up in all this relativism now that Trump got elected feel that the truth matters. We still have to struggle with people about reality, how do we know what’s true, how do we change it. We’re under a fascist regime and we’re up against the urgent need to drive it out, but we’re running up against all kinds of problems. It’s all contradiction, the science is key, we need to have a scientific approach to everything, and it tends to get separated off too much. We’re communists in RF and if we’re trying to change reality our best chance to do so is to be scientific: theory, practice, theory all throughout. There is a pull to being overwhelmed by the actual shit that’s happening but they’re all contradictions. How are we going to deal with them? There’s that second to last question in Part 4 of the Q&As. We have to confront reality as it actually is and act with urgency but not in a frenetic way, there is a need for urgency on a scientific basis. It’s hastening while awaiting, but with a scientific approach, not just go go go.

X was moved to go back to “Unresolved Contradictions” and “The Truth about the Right Wing Conspiracy” piece off of what she’s been learning about students’ thinking. People are agonizing about the situation, students came out to protest Shapiro but [we had to argue]: would you ask pointed questions to people fighting for segregation if you were against it? They responded: not the same situation because people now have rights. People were separating off Ben Shapiro from the regime: “There are people who believe these things and if we don’t engage these people how are we gonna change their minds?” vs. an understanding of the regime. X was thinking about the need for people to understand the development of the situation and how we got here. Not just that Trump is a lunatic and the separation of powers are gonna save us. No, for decades, people have been working on this; a Christian fascist core has been going at this for decades. People aren’t seeing their program for what it is and how the fascists are seeing their necessity. That’s really important and clarifies a lot of shit, and we don’t go there enough with people. People need science and materialism. Why haven’t we gone there? I don’t know, there’s a separation where we’re not bringing in what we understand, e.g. the definition of fascism. Are we just using a more popular one vs. revcom’s definition? We rely on doing a lot of exposure on the horrors which is very important, but don’t enough make the case about how the checks and balances are being undermined and how society is transforming. Do we really understanding that enough? Do we pay attention to what the fascists are doing? Not sufficiently.

Y was speaking to how she’s been thinking about the talk and why is it that BA gets into the questions that he gets into. These are the questions that are on millions of minds and how even with us we don’t see it in a way where it needs to get to millions. That millions of people are agonizing over these questions and where they actually engage this talk it can have an impact on how people understand things and move them to act. We don’t know how people in the club see this film, we don’t think that people [in the club] are asking those questions: Why does BA speak to what he does? And it’s not just a matter of repeating what BA says, but bringing it straight to them for them to engage. We need to appreciate that this film is for millions and the core should be deepening our understanding and leading people to go back to and watch it themselves because it’s important. Why is BA speaking to those questions, those questions are what people are running up against, what’s paralyzing people from acting, not understanding in a scientific way where this regime came from? It didn’t come out of nowhere, they weren’t under a rock somewhere, it’s been building up to that. The talk traces examples of how even in a period where things were supposed to be OK, they were openly doing shit that is exposing itself, small steps of how things have been building up. People get Bush, then Obama and now Trump. The history of capitalism and white supremacy has everything to do with where we are now. It goes up against how Trump is viewed—not an egomaniac, stupid, he’s going to fail—but he’s actually dangerous and BA walks through why that is.

X spoke about reading an article in The Atlantic that’s titled “The Nationalist’s Delusion.” It speaks to a long held strategy in American politics where racism is disavowed but racist agendas are carried out. All men are created equal and yet they had slavery, segregation, etc. Even critics look to find different explanations for Trump’s election, “economic anxiety” or things like that, but not white supremacy. You can see how bound up this is with American chauvinism and why BA went there in the new talk when speaking to the fact that it’s not the greatness of western civilization but the fact that capitalism developed differently in different countries. It’s possible to say that people have gone further right in mainstream politics, but it’s not the case that people have gone further left. In reading the revcom piece “Why the Democrats’ Victories Do NOT Spell the End of Trumpian Fascism...” while it’s not fully getting into the history and development of fascism, it does provide evidence for people on how coming under the banner of the Democratic Party is so harmful, that going further right is actually the strategy for the Democrats. We have to make the case and provide evidence for people: why what is happening is happening, why the illusions people have are illusions and lay bare evidence for that.

American chauvinism: really understanding history and reality of white supremacy... something people really need to understand and why BA spends so much time on that part.

I was thinking about why did BA go at the GTF. I remembered I said something about U.S. crimes and [someone I was working with in RF] said, “You can’t say that to people, we understand that, but people out there won’t.” But American exceptionalism, chauvinism is in the way of people confronting this is a fascist regime, it’s what’s behind the “it couldn’t happen here” thinking, and all the faith people have in this system even though it is this system that brought this forth. If people confront the actual history of this country and what it has done, then it is not so unbelievable that they would seek a fascist resolution to unresolvable contradictions. There has to be unity/struggle/unity not just unity and avoid struggle for the sake of unity. It’s not just about being anti-American and be just like “fuck them” because we want to provoke an argument, but here’s a contradiction. It’s not because we’re stubborn on this point but it’s a big obstacle in people’s thinking, it’s getting in the way of people being able to recognize the immediate danger. The point isn’t that we have to get into the mode of production in every instance of a conversation when we go out to people and struggle with them to take up the mission to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, but we do have to get into the actual history of this country.

Y had made a point about the need to lead with BA and not just playing it for people but having people actually engage with what BA is putting forth and this made me think of the last showing the Revolution Club did of the talk. There was a lot of back and forth with a couple of people who showed up and watched the entire talk and three of the Q&As but it was too much people putting forward what they understand and not leading people to go back to what we just watched. Leading with BA doesn’t just mean playing the talk for people and then having a whole separate conversation that doesn’t involve taking people back the substance of the talk and engaging with BA. BA says that a lot of people who don’t agree with him have to be part of the movement to drive out the regime or else it won’t be what it needs to be, but what’s in the talk is not limited to what most people who need to be part of this will agree with.

When talking about what brought people out and what kept them away on the 4th, X spoke to how we did identify the fear, that people heard about fascist attacks and how there was confusion about November 4. We also heard about the civil war thing, the fascists who said they were going to come armed, etc. We heard about this from a couple people, one thought November 4 was a hoax. This person did end up coming to November 4, a socialist type person. Another person, undocumented, had a fear of physical attacks.

One student was motivated because she felt like others are not relating to the situation in a way that is commensurate with what is happening. All the normalization has motivated her further. We did the burning of a MAGA hat, and we’re talking about what’s up, and people were just walking by, including progressive people. She said it’s going to affect a lot of people but they’re not acting on that. She has a visceral outrage at what’s happening, but at first she lacked political understanding that this was a transition to fascism—but when she read the panels, especially the one on civil liberties, “oh shit, not just the attacks, something else... and we really have to respond.”

Something else that held people back was people seeing Trump as failing. Including citing health care stuff and the Mueller investigation. “See, there’s opposition. He’s trying to do stuff and he’s not being successful” and that’s people just looking at Trump, not the whole regime.

Y talked to a woman who’s a veteran that was at November 4, she heard about it, knew the message behind it. She heard an interview where someone made the point that everyone of different viewpoints was welcome. She thought it was important, the unity, people coming together from different perspectives... She said she was glad she hadn’t known of the threats because that probably would’ve stopped her from coming out, but now that she saw the outcome she was glad she showed up. She said she wouldn’t have come out because she didn’t want to confront the fascists. She saw the clip from the veteran who spoke at one of the rallies. She’s proud to have served in the military, she wasn’t on the ground in the way that he was so she saw different things. Y told her that she says some of the same things as the fascist about loving this country and wanting to fight for it but the fascists are standing for white supremacy and she’s not. But still she’s conflicted because they both love this country; she doesn’t like to sound like them because people will conflate. She disagreed about the history of this country but she was coming at it from her own experience. Her parents were immigrants and she was able to go to college, from her perspective the U.S. treated her and her family well. It’s contradictory because she does see how other people are being fucked over by this regime and she feels responsible, she’s not for white supremacy but she knows that when she talks about the U.S. she sounds similar to those who are.

Other people who did come out on November 4 knew that the fascists were going to be there and came to defend people and stand with others who were stepping out. Even for ourselves, it’s been understanding the necessity and stepping out based on that understanding. There has been real fear about going out and getting hurt and it’s interesting that everyone was thinking about it but nobody said anything till afterwards.

X said that the idea that Trump is failing has a lot of weight, it’s a big thing on campus and in society. Their assessment isn’t based on anything solid other than he failed at health care. We have to fill the gaps in people’s understanding and make the case about what this is and why people need to step out. It has to do with what runs through the entire talk, people will only step out if people recognize the necessity to do so, what’s it going to take to stop it and make a decision about how to relate to it all.

We had a meeting with the Rev Club that we had to go to and didn’t go on much longer because of it, but there are important things that should be returned to.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/refuse-fascism/index.html#sf-protest-12-16

Revolution #521 December 11, 2017


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