Revolution #522, December 18, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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 #522 December 18, 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/522/election-in-alabama-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

The Election in Alabama: What It Does—And Does NOT—Mean, and What Must Be Done

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last Tuesday night, with people all across the country closely following the race, the Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated the openly Christian fascist fanatic Roy Moore in the election for senator from Alabama.

Moore campaigned on an openly anti-gay platform and record. He had repeatedly called for criminalizing same-sex relations and had even been removed from the Alabama (!) Supreme Court for refusing to uphold the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. He campaigned as an extreme anti-abortion fanatic.

Beyond that, Moore had openly lauded slavery! When asked at a rally in September “when America was last great,” he harkened back to more than 150 years ago, when “families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another.... Our families were strong, our country had a direction.” Moore has also said that there should have been no more amendments to the Constitution after the first 10—meaning that the end of slavery, the rights of women and Black people to vote, the right of people to be citizens, the stricture against states denying people rights guaranteed to them in the federal Constitution—all these would be off the books. And note well: neither Moore nor any of his supporters (least of all Donald Trump) ever tried to “walk back” either of these outrageously racist statements.

Yet with all that, Moore almost won! Plus this: Moore was not only slavery-loving, gay-hating, patriarchal nutcase, he had also been hit with allegations that he had abused teenage girls when he was in his 30s. While the allegations have not been proven, Moore did admit to seeking dates with teenagers while an adult (albeit, he claimed, with their mothers’ permission!). Had this last point not cut down the Republican turnout, it has to be said that it is likely that Moore would have won.

At the same time, other factors entered in as well. For one thing, Black people in Alabama turned out in record numbers to vote against this pig. More Black people voted in this off-year off-month election than had voted for Obama—and this is so even though outrageous measures taken by the Republican Party since Obama’s election have seriously cut down the ability of the masses of Black people in Alabama to vote at all. This could well signal an extremely heightened sense of the danger that Moore—and beyond Moore, Trump, who backed Moore—poses to Black people, as well as a revulsion against his whole program. While voting will not be what stops Trump—and we’ll come back to that point—had Black people simply not turned out, it would not only have meant Moore ascending to the Senate and great prominence, but could have signified a deep defeatism. So there is a positive aspect here.

Moore was also up against a section of the Republican Party concentrated right now in some Senate Republicans. These senators, like Trump, favor fascism but they have some differences with an even more openly fascist and racist section led by Steve Bannon.

But again, we should not be jumping up and down in joy because Moore lost; we should be noting and soberly assessing the fact that the race was as close as it was. Had Moore even received 10 votes, that would have signified something extremely ugly. The fact that this candidate who openly longed for the days of slavery and flaunted his hatred of LGBTQ people got over 650,000 votes and that this included 68 percent of the white people who came out to vote... that is a shame beyond ugly, and something that has to be soberly confronted.

Why Did Moore Almost Win?

The fact has to be faced that there is a significant section of white people—in fact, a majority—who have been mobilized around a fascist program that more or less openly identifies “American greatness” as based on the virulent and open subordination of Black people, the open domination and demeaning of women and gay people (and in the case of LGBTQ people, the outright denial of their basic rights), the ethnic cleansing of immigrants and Muslims (as well as a theocratic domination of government and civil society by fundamentalist Christian fascism), and an even more highly aggressive U.S. foreign policy. This is not only true of Alabama, but of the country as a whole—the ugly fact is that Trump won a majority of every section of white people in 2016 and that even a foaming-at-the-mouth racist and sexist like Moore, so far out that even some Republicans openly called for his defeat, could win a decisive majority of white votes in Alabama.

This hard-core fascist movement is rooted in the whole history of this country in slavery and then white supremacy, the deep ties between Christian fundamentalism and white supremacy (as Bob Avakian has stated, “The ‘Bible Belt’ in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt”), the reaction against the changing of morés around women and gay people, the American chauvinism that has continued as the dominant assumption for the vast majority, and the ways in which the Republican Party for over 40 years has been steadily building up a fascist base and infrastructure rooted in this. To get a sense of the depth of these roots, readers should watch Bob Avakian’s talk given this fall: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” If you’ve seen it before, watch it again—because this truth cannot go out of focus. This fascism is deeply, deeply rooted, this movement has been built up and is convinced of their supposedly “God-ordained” righteousness, they think this is their “last chance,” and they are not going to go away lightly.

And Who Is Doug Jones?

Moreover, Moore did NOT lose because Doug Jones squarely confronted and called out the fascist movement represented by Moore. Jones did not even run on a liberal platform. Nor did he openly proclaim that he wanted to bring forward Black people and progressive whites into a coalition to defeat this viciously racist, sexist, and American chauvinist campaign.

To the contrary. Jones ran as a “tough-on-crime Democrat.” Translation: Jones styles himself in the mold of Bill Clinton, whose policies exacerbated the massive criminalization and incarceration of Black and other “minority” people, and who even made a spectacle of presiding over the execution of mentally incompetent Black man, Ricky Rector, at the height of his first presidential campaign. Jones kept his support from prominent Black people “under the radar” until the very end of the campaign. He fully backs the murderous U.S. military—as he has stated in an interview with AL.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.”

This is an approach that under Clinton and then Obama consistently attempted to placate these fascists, and consistently conceded the initiative to them in the name of “being bipartisan.” In the case of Obama, this meant saying, after Trump won the election on an openly white supremacist, sexist, and hyper-chauvinist campaign, that he and Trump were ultimately “on the same team” and that we should hope for Trump's success.

Jones was lauded for making the race about “local issues” and Moore, and not allowing it to “turn into a referendum on Trump”—that is, not even going after Trump himself, apparently for fear of alienating or provoking Trump supporters whom he might otherwise either win or at least get to stay home. 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 chauvinists 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 and science? 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? The point here is not that Jones supports Trump on any or all of these policies, but that the very act of “seeking common ground” itself legitimizes this American Hitler and ideologically disarms people for what is going to have to be a serious struggle to uproot this fascism.

Charles Blow and Deceit and Self-Deceit: Is Trump an Anomaly of America?

Yet someone like Charles Blow, who has previously called Trump fascist and sounded the alarm about him, now claims that this election is an “omen,” to quote the title of his Wednesday column in the New York Times. According to Blow, the narrow defeat of Moore “proved that Trump was a fringe candidate who tapped into an American ugliness and rode it to a fluke victory with the help of a foreign adversary.” Then he goes on:

Trump is both anomaly and abomination, and America wants to carve him out like a cancer.

We can certainly agree with Blow that Trump is an abomination. But an “anomaly”? Anomaly means something that is a sharp deviation from the norm. Again, we want to urge readers to listen to BA’s talk, where the real history of this country, here and around the world is squarely confronted, and where the depth and cultivation of this fascist movement that Trump and Pence head is gone into. But for now we’ll say this: you cannot truly look at an America in which the very land was stolen and its original inhabitants genocided, in which the entire foundation of its economic, political, and military power rested on the gigantic historic crime of slavery, in which the power thereby gained has then been used to terrorize, dominate, and ruthlessly exploit people all over the world, a country which led the heedless plunder of the environment that has now brought us to the brink of disaster... you cannot even look at the trajectory of Nixon to Reagan to W and accurately call Trump an “anomaly.”

Trump has in fact coalesced various fascist forces that have been building with increasing velocity in the wake of the 1960s. The driving underlying contradictions that the U.S. faces at home and internationally have caused big sections of the ruling class to see the Trump/Pence regime as necessary and last-chance now, and they judge that they have to move fast to consolidate. Trump’s continual threats against leading Democrats do not principally flow from his narcissism but the judgment of his faction that these Democrats must be at minimum further cowed. The Democrats for their part will not resolutely oppose Trump for the reason that to dislodge and confront the fascist regime and the roused fascist base of that regime, would require mobilizing their base and initiating a process that could spin beyond their control, delegitimizing them (and their complicity in many aspects of the fascist agenda, particularly towards the most oppressed and on the world stage)... and could even lead to delegitimizing the whole system. Hence the Democrats walk a tightrope of attempting to hem Trump in with things like the Mueller investigation which do not get to, and intentionally lead away from, the essence of the matter—fascism—and which make the terms those of patriotism vs. lack thereof.

The portrait of Trump as an isolated anomaly in all this is not only inaccurate—it is disarming and causes real damage.

More Deceit and Self-Deceit: A Strategy... Of Accommodation Leading To Disaster

Blow is driven to this distortion of where Trump stands in relation to America and its history by his fervent desire for the main point of his article—the notion that, in his words,

The Resistance is marching on, emboldened, with a strategy and a proof that the strategy can work.

The assumptions behind this statement are dangerously wrong. This strategy is to avoid calling out the fascist nature of the threat we now face and to work through elections and the Democratic Party. This strategy calls on people to pour their efforts into electing Democrats in 2018. But even if in defiance of the way that the system is already set up to nullify the votes of the most oppressed and those in the urban areas, and even if somehow the regime is not able to proceed with its efforts to drastically further cut down on the rights of Black and other minority people to vote...even if with all that the Democrats somehow elect a majority, this would NOT in itself mean the removal of Trump. The leadership of the Democrats has continued to insist that Trump NOT be impeached and that such talk be ruled out of order altogether. And Blow, let it be noted, says nothing to the contrary.

Moreover, do you think these fascists will do nothing in the face of an electoral defeat? What if the shoe in November 2016 had been on the other foot? What if Hillary Clinton had lost the popular vote but slipped in through the electoral back door (as Trump did)? Do you think that Trump would have called for people to come together and accept the result, as Hillary Clinton and then Obama did? Obviously, nobody knows for sure, but if you think back Trump was preparing his followers to reject any loss as the result of “rigging.”

The point here is not that such an election defeat in 2018 is improbable. The point is that this hard core is convinced that they are right and this is their last chance to “take their country back”—that is, to hammer down a fascist form of American capitalism-imperialism—and they are not going to be deterred by an election defeat.

Fascism will not be defeated by not confronting it. It will not be defeated by refusing to name it as such—and Blow, who has often called the regime fascist has, for whatever reason, chosen not to use that term in this column. It will not be defeated by not calling out what Bob Avakian has called

the triad of fascism, that is, the unapologetic aggressive assertion of white supremacy, male supremacy and American supremacy (or racism, misogyny and bellicose xenophobic jingoism, if you want to use other terminology), reinforced with defiantly—not apologetically, defiantly—ignorant and belligerent opposition to science and rational thought, combined with equally ignorant and belligerent assertion of the “superiority of western civilization,” as evidenced in Trump’s recent speech in Poland. (From The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenge Before Us)

A Logic That Leads to Supporting Horror: Trying to Defeat Fascism by Adopting Its Slogans

And fascism will certainly not be defeated by attempting to clothe oneself in the very slogan of the fascist movement itself. Yet Blow goes on to say this:

The Resistance has come to take its country back and make America great again. That means posing a plausible electoral threat to all things Trump and every person who supported his defilement of this country. (our emphasis)

W. T. F. Those are the terms on which you’re going to fight the Trump-Pence regime? “American greatness” has only ever been, and can only ever be, a slogan rooted in the Manifest Destiny that justified the extermination of the Native peoples who originally lived here and the enslavement (and then continued torture and super-exploitation after outright chattel slavery ended) of the millions kidnapped and dragged here in chains from Africa.

By the way, note that the goal here posed by Blow is not even the outright electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime, but instead has been reformulated to be “posing a plausible electoral threat” to it. This supposed strategy—in the context of literal horrors being perpetrated right now against immigrants and Muslims in this country, plundering the environment, theocratic packing of the courts, and aggression and oppression backed by the U.S. all over the world right now from Yemen to Somalia to West Africa to Palestine... and in the context of the threatened horrors against Black and other “minority” people, against women and LGBTQ people, and the extremely heightened danger of cataclysmic nuclear war—is a strategy for capitulation and defeat. And in this current context, it is unconscionable.

There is a reason that the Democratic Party will not and cannot call out and seriously oppose this. Even as many oppressed and working people cast votes for them, they represent the same capitalist-imperialist system that Trump does, and they will tell you as much: they stand for capitalism, they stand for the “projection of American power” (which means imperialism), they stand for “American exceptionalism,” which means that America among all countries is exceptionally good (when in fact it has been exceptionally rapacious and bloodthirsty), and so on. They are, in other words, a party that represents the interests of the ruling class. They have differences with Trump, even very serious ones, but they prize the continued order and functioning of the system over the possible threat to that order that could be posed by political upheaval, so they attempt to curtail and clip the wings of people’s anger and channel this into “safe channels.” At most they aim to use the anger of the people to pose some sort of constraint on Trump; in fact, they aim to render it harmless. 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.

Then there’s this: if you build a movement on the logic of the Democrats, and the strategy of that movement is working to elect Democrats (oops, sorry, working to nominate candidates who pose a plausible threat), what happens when Trump tries to get out of some domestic political crisis by going to war? Then, when the Democratic leadership rushes to prove their patriotism by supporting Trump (as they did with Bush II and Bush I and Reagan, and as they did with their own leaders Clinton and Obama in the numerous acts of aggression that they launched or supported), where will you be? When Trump uses such a crisis to severely heighten repression and the Democrats support him—as they did with Bush II when they nearly unanimously supported the Patriot Act and the unlawful imprisonment and torture of Muslims within and outside the U.S.—in a form that could certainly be even worse than Bush... where will you be?

In their hip pocket... or worse still, justifying what you once would have called out as crimes as “necessary evils.”

There IS a Chance to Defeat Fascism and There Is Still Time to Do It, if...

As we have stated before, and it is 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; more, not less urgent, to truly confront the fascist nature of this movement and the deep roots of that fascism within U.S. society and the capitalist-imperialist system that drives that society.

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.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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/reflecting-on-bob-avakians-speech-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Letter from a reader:

Reflecting on 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”

December 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There are many ways to watch this speech and many dimensions to appreciate—but after November 18—as we do the rigorous work to scientifically step back and sum up what it is we are trying to accomplish, what it is we are encountering and how we learn from an intense year of fighting to win millions of people to the need to drive out this regime—it is worth re-watching the speech Bob Avakian (BA) made this October and learning from the method he approached this talk with.

Specifically there is a difference between more positivist approaches to summation—that is to say summation done very much from within the terms of how we did at this or that aspect of our work or within the terms as they are presented by the “resistance,” or the maneuvers of the Trump regime; we need to step back all the way to the reality of the situation we are working to transform, including in its deeper underlying dimensions.

“People always were and always will be the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics until they learn to discover the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises. The supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realize that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is maintained by the forces of some ruling classes.” (Lenin, as quoted and referenced in The New Communism by BA)

The way people look at things is a reflection—not in a mechanical one-to-one sense, but in a fundamental sense it is a reflection—of the position and inclinations of some social group or some class of people in society. Spontaneously people look at what is to be done about the current—or any—situation and try to rearrange things or reality within the existing framework of how society is organized and how things are done. But “how things are done” is dominated by “the forces of some ruling classes” and the inclination to stay in these terms are also shaped and reinforced by the relative position of people within that framework.

Now look back at this speech―including the question recently asked at an event sponsored by The Bob Avakian Institute on where BA begins this speech—and how this analysis is rooted in the whole history of the country and the country’s role in the world: the history of classes and class society and the specific and peculiar history of the forging and formation of the U.S. on a foundation of white supremacy and the direct links and connections from the Confederacy to the fascists of today—or the GTF (Great Tautological Fallacy) and the widely held cohering national mythology of American exceptionalism.

Communists are going to work on this situation and these contradictions—vexing ones given we are dealing with what is fighting to remain the world’s sole superpower and a large middle class that has benefitted from this, with some sections of these strata responding to changes and the undermining of their position in the imperialist world economy and losing what was a traditional way of life by looking to and taking up a fascist resolution to this, while others are horrified and repulsed by everything Trumpian and who welcome the ways of life enriched by world migrations and integration, the changes in the position of women, the throwing into the air of traditional gender roles and the increasing role of science and the scientific method to understanding and being in the world, but who are also looking to maintain the comforts and stability living in the West bring.

Avakian is not looking at this with world-weary, determinist “realism” but with an approach of seeing these as contradictions rooted in an underlying reality—a reality that is in motion and going through convulsive change—and a recognition that the stability people are going to great lengths of self-deceit to maintain—is also coming to an end and where abrupt changes that people tend to see as “it couldn’t happen here” can happen very quickly. These are contradictions that can be worked on—and must be—but the freedom in this necessity is not clear without a method that digs down into the foundations of the underlying reality.

If you look back at this speech you can see BA approaching this not with determinist realism, cynical realpolitik, or tailing the outlook of the middle classes but struggling with people (in this speech he speaks to different sections of the people) with strategic confidence, with a lot of heart and compassion, and very wide arms. And that is BA applying the new synthesis he has been the architect of—putting the living science of communism back on its scientific foundations.

This speech is an application of Enriched What Is to Be Done-ism—worked with and described by BA in “Unresolved Contradictions and Driving Forces for Revolution”:

What is involved in “Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism” is sharply and scientifically exposing the system, bringing to light the causes and reasons for the oppression that different sections of the people suffer and the outrages that masses of people detest; showing, in a living way, how all this is rooted in and has as its source the system of capitalism-imperialism, which perpetuates and enforces this on a daily basis and in horrific dimensions; illustrating, through the application of a scientific, dialectical materialist method, how different sections of the people tend to respond to different events in society and the world, and how this relates to their position within the overall production and social relations; bringing forward and setting before all, and boldly struggling for, our revolutionary and communist orientation and convictions; and mobilizing people, yes, to fight back against oppression but to do so on the basis and with the orientation and aim of building a movement for revolution, toward the goal of sweeping aside the capitalist-imperialist system, bringing into being a new, socialist system and continuing to advance, together with people struggling throughout the world, toward the final goal of communism; and setting before the masses of people not only the goals of the revolution and the basic strategy for making revolution, as embodied in the line and policies of the party, but also the problems of making revolution, involving growing numbers of the masses in grappling with and helping to resolve these contradictions in the direction of revolution and communism.

While this particular speech by BA is not principally aimed at what the last part of the sentence above speaks to, i.e. getting into the goals and strategy of the revolution per se, it definitely aims to involve growing numbers of masses in grappling with helping to resolve the contradictions involved in driving out the Trump/Pence regime. I think if we are understanding and learning from this method—including comparing and contrasting how we’ve understood and made use of this talk—it should be possible for people to make much better use of this—seeing the decisive difference that this talk can continue to make and taking initiative to get this out to many more people in the immediate period. Having discussions and engagement about this, encouraging many people who are not communists to be grappling with the analysis and method and popularizing this among their own milieus.

Taking this out boldly and creatively will greatly increase our ability to unite very broadly. Based on this kind of engagement and putting the real problems of the revolution before people we should be better able to work with all kinds of people in solving the problems of the revolution—including right now working on what it must take to win people to the necessity and possibility of driving this fascist regime from power—and the better world it would contribute to.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/skybreak-a-party-on-the-basis-of-the-new-synthesis-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Excerpt from SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

What Does It Mean, What Difference Can It Make, To Have A Party Organized on the Basis of the New Synthesis?

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of 2015, over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak. A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women's Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. This interview was first published online at www.revcom.us.

Ardea Skybreak Science and Revolution excerpts A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What Is New in the New Synthesis? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic--A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis Serious Engagement with the New Synthesis--The Difference It Could Make An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

AS continues: Once again, think of the real difference it could make if the new synthesis were to spread, were to be broadly engaged with, throughout society, and were taken up by revolutionaries everywhere. Many of the revolutionary communists today are people who came out of the great upsurges of the 1960s, including Bob Avakian himself. This was a very rich period. But there’s a tremendous need now for younger generations to take up this new synthesis, to work with it, to contribute to further advancing it, and to spreading it around the world. Again, I would use the example...besides the U.S. itself, I’ll use the example of the Middle East. What a difference it would make if significant numbers of people, including young people in these Middle Eastern countries that are in such turmoil...if, instead of choosing between either promoting American-style democracy and aspiring to either move to America or to build up a similar system in their own country (with all the horrors that are involved with that), or joining in with these nut-case Islamic fundamentalists and all  their horrible ways of trying to restructure society–if, instead of choosing one or the other of those no-good options, there were some significant blocs of people, including significant numbers of young people, who were delving into the new synthesis of communism, studying it, debating it, really grappling with it and figuring out how to apply it in the context of their own countries–this could provide a real alternative, a genuinely positive alternative. They would, of course, have to figure out what it means concretely to apply the new synthesis to the particular conditions of their particular countries and societies. But the key methods and principles of the new synthesis would apply anywhere. They could take that up, and it would provide a positive alternative to both those bad alternatives. It could become a rallying point in places of the world that are in turmoil, of which there are many.

Q: Continuing with the point you just made about the difference, the tremendous difference, it would make if younger generations took up this new synthesis, I did want to ask specifically what you think  it means that  there’s this vanguard party,  the Revolutionary Communist Party, led by BA, that bases itself on the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward, and the need for that party to grow and for people to join that party.

AS: Well, again, I would refer people to the website revcom.us, where there are some articles that get into why a vanguard party is needed. Why you can’t make a revolution without one. I think people would get a lot out of digging into some of that. And your question is a good question, because I think  it’s a question that  people don’t discuss  a lot, or not enough. How are you going to help make an actual revolution without being really disciplined and really organized into a revolutionary organization, in other words, a revolutionary party?  It’s not going to be enough just to function as atomized individuals or even to just get together with handfuls of like-minded individuals in a somewhat disorganized manner.

There’s a statement on the revcom.us website, Get Organized for an Actual Revolution. If you understand what an actual revolution is, what it involves–that it actually does require getting to the point where you can dismantle the existing state apparatus and replace it with a completely different state apparatus, different organs of power, that you have to seize power and organize society on a new basis with new institutions–how are you going to do all that without a very tightly cohered and organized body of people, who are very committed and dedicated to doing that and who are willing to function in a very disciplined and organized way? Many people would probably recognize the need for tight and disciplined organization later on, when things get to the point of military struggle, or things like that–people think about disciplined armies, and so on. But what about for the current phase  of things, where what’s mainly  involved is political  struggle, fighting the power primarily politically for now, working to unite people on that basis, and working to transform the thinking of the people, but doing so in a way that will lay the basis for being able to “go for the whole thing,” for the actual  seizure  of power, when the conditions exist for doing so? Even now, under the conditions of today, you’d better not just function in an individualistic way, or in a scattered way, like a bunch of disorganized individuals who sometimes work together and sometimes don’t, and who are constantly pulling in different directions and end up undermining even their own best efforts. Making revolution is a complex multi-faceted process which needs to pull together many different components of the struggle and keep them all pretty much on track and advancing in a certain direction. So you’d better be as unified as possible, you’d better all be pulling  in the same basic direction, and you’d better be recruiting more people and constantly expanding the ranks of the disciplined, organized body that can provide ideological and political strategic guidance and direction to ever broader people in society.

Q: And what does it mean  to have a party that’s based on the leadership of BA and this framework of the new synthesis?

AS: Well, a party is obviously made up of a lot of individual human beings, and not all of them see eye to eye on everything or understand things the same way or function all at the same level. And, as I said before,  I think  there’s a tremendous “gap” between Bob Avakian and pretty much  everyone  else. He’s like “miles ahead  of even the best of the rest,” as someone once said, in terms of people in the RCP as well as people outside the Party. That’s just objective  fact. But OK, we can work with that–first of all we can learn to more deeply value and appreciate what it is that BA has developed–that he has come to concentrate and that he is constantly modeling for others–which objectively puts him so far ahead of the rest of the pack, so to speak. We can do our best to learn from him, in particular by closely studying his whole method and approach to things. And we can work to at least significantly “narrow”  the gap, in an ongoing  way, including by having a good attitude about being led and learning from advanced leadership, and by actively contributing ourselves to continual grappling with the new synthesis and how to apply its key principles and methods in an ongoing way to further developing and advancing the movement for revolution.

People should understand better both what it means to be willing to lead, and what it means to be willing to be led. It should be a two-way street of mutual and inter-dependent responsibilities and the furthest thing from a passive or one-sided process. Being provided leadership, if it’s good leadership, doesn’t mean  that  you’re just being bossed around or given orders all the time! [laughs] That’s not leadership. Good leadership consists primarily in training people in overall orientation and method and approach, and in this way giving them the tools to contribute as much as possible themselves to the advance of the overall larger process and objectives, and to in turn train others to do the same.

And again, a revolutionary party has to function as a unified  body, which is why there’s a concept, democratic centralism, that people can read about in the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Democratic centralism is not just a question of people following orders or being disciplined, although it is that, too, for instance in relation to things like carrying out assignments and responsibilities. But, democratic centralism involves much more than that. Democratic centralism is, most fundamentally, a scientific concept about epistemological discipline. It doesn’t mean  that  people are slavish. But it means that when analyses and syntheses are developed at leading levels, and strategies and methods for a particular period of work and for prioritizing things are being developed, then the Party as a whole should function as a unified body to take this out to the best of their ability into the world. Like good scientists who are working in a coordinated and disciplined way on a scientific  project. In this case, they’re working  on the project of transforming society, transforming the thinking of blocs of people, of fighting the power around egregious outrages, all in a disciplined and unified way along with the broadest numbers of people that can be united to do so, and doing all this in a coherent way. And then,  if Party members have differences and don’t agree with certain things, they have a responsibility to raise their questions or disagreements, in a systematic way, through the appropriate channels. This, too, is part of the scientific method and process.

You function in a united, unified way, but then internally people discuss and wrangle and debate and raise questions or disagreements and modifications, and so on, so that there is actually  a genuinely collective process. You know, there’s that  formulation of the RCP, that  the Party’s collectivity is its strength. It is of course being given centralized guidance: Guidance is being provided regularly to the Party and to the people around the Party who are interested in learning about this guidance and orientation. So, yes, the Party is being guided, it is being led. It is being guided by BA, including through his works, and it is being guided through the website revcom.us, through Party documents, and so on. So there’s definitely guidance, there’s definitely leadership, being provided. At the same time, people are not–and should not be–passive. People in the Party, at every level, as well as people outside the Party, should definitely be raising their own thinking, their questions, their disagreements, but in a substantial way, and in an appropriate manner. In a manner that will likely contribute in a positive way to the overall process. This doesn’t mean  that  you have to have a whole deep analysis of something before you can raise a question or possible disagreement, but whatever you raise should at least be with the right spirit. What I mean by saying that this should be raised in a substantial way and with the right spirit, is that it should not consist of a bunch of “nyaa-nyaa, crotchety-crotchety, complain-complain, I don’t like this, I don’t like that.”  You know what I mean? That doesn’t get anybody  anywhere. Even if it’s a simple question or a simple disagreement, it should be raised in the spirit that we’re all trying to get to a better world, and that’s what we should all be doing together.

That’s why, once again, I feel that  in the Dialogue,  Bob Avakian and Cornel West set a good example that other people should follow. They have some substantial disagreements, which they made clear. But they also identified substantial points of unity, and manifested a sort of joint moral conscience, in terms of fighting oppression. And so they could find the way to work together while still talking to each other and talking to the general public about what some of their differences are, and challenging people to grapple with that, not being afraid of seeing people grapple with that.

Q: So the Party enables people to collectively, in a unified way, apply the new synthesis of communism to reality, to grapple over that new synthesis and its application, and to further develop it.

AS: Right. Like a good team of scientists, with BA in the position of team leader, overall team leader, and with other people playing their roles to the best of their abilities, in accordance with their experience and understanding, and with the development of their ability to grasp and apply the scientific  method. It’s very much  as if you were trying to solve a huge scientific problem in the natural sciences–for instance, if you were trying to find a vaccine for Ebola, or trying to cure cancer, or trying to figure out how to turn back global warming, or trying to stop the deforestation of rain forests–and, in order to increase your chances of succeeding, you set about organizing and unifying a whole bunch of scientists to work together, at different levels, with different abilities, different levels of experience, but all united in their willingness to: work coherently together, using the best possible scientific methods; study and build off of the accumulated knowledge in their field so far; bring their own creativity and initiative to bear; and follow the lead of a team leader, who is best able to provide overall guidance and direction for the project as a whole, and who has demonstrated, and models for others, an especially advanced and developed level of knowledge, expertise, and methods relevant to the particular field, and to the problem to be solved.

Well, in the “field” of applying scientific  methods to “solving the problem” of emancipating all of humanity from the bone- and soul-crushing system of capitalism-imperialism, the person today who is best imbued with these qualities and most able to assume the responsibilities of team leader  is clearly BA. Again, this isn’t just my personal opinion–I believe this is a clearly demonstrable fact. There’s simply nobody else today working at quite this level. So we should consider ourselves lucky to be able to work with, to take guidance from, the person who happens to currently be “the most advanced expert  in the field,” and we should take full advantage of his overall guidance and leadership if we are serious about making revolution, in the right ways, and with a real chance of succeeding.

But everyone  does need to pitch in. Look, you go out into the world and you’re trying to transform material reality,  you’re trying to transform society, and of course sometimes you’re not sure what you’re doing, or you run into obstacles or you start going off track, or whatever. But you can learn  from all that,  too. Don’t step over it. If you do go off track, or if you run into problems, don’t just try to skirt it, ignore it, finesse it or just move on to the next thing. Instead, leave your ego out of it [laughs] and confront it, face it, figure it out. There are bound to be lots of problems and lots of mistakes made, and the problems you are having are probably shared by quite a few others. So let’s just talk about  it, let’s collectively learn from it, in order to keep getting better at what we need to do.

And if, on the other hand, people are doing things that are making breakthroughs, are making advances, don’t keep this to yourself  either. Don’t just think,  “Oh, how cool!” and then keep it to yourself. Report on what you are encountering, on what you are learning out in society, on what is actually advancing things and connecting with things. Because there will be important insights and new experiences that come from every level, including from people at the base of the Party and from the people outside the Party who work closely with the Party. But knowledge of this needs to be shared. You don’t want to squander any of that.

So, again, there’s the responsibilities of leadership and the responsibilities of the led, at whatever level. The responsibility of leadership at every level is to lead. The responsibility of the led is to take leadership, to follow leadership, with the orientation of not being slavish but of fighting oppression and working towards the emancipation of humanity. And, in the course of taking leadership, learn to be a leader yourself and spread that leadership and that revolutionary consciousness and organization throughout society.

Q: So, with the Party there’s a basis for this new synthesis to become  a material force in the world in a way that  wouldn’t be possible without this Party.

AS: Yeah, without an organized party, without an organized revolutionary movement, it would just end up being small numbers of people talking to each other behind walls.

Q: Returning to the work and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and the role he plays in the world, as you have said, this is very contended. There are some people who really love Bob Avakian and what he’s brought forward and represents and the role he plays in the world, and there  are some people  who really don’t like this. And I wondered if you could get into that further.

AS: I think that’s actually  a very important thing  to dig into more deeply, because there’s a lot you can learn  from digging into the reasons why so many people do love Bob Avakian and his work, and, at the same time, the reasons why so many people hate Bob Avakian and his work–or at least hate Bob Avakian, because, again, many of the “haters”  hate him without really knowing  his work–they typically don’t really study his work, they don’t really get into the specific arguments, they don’t really engage the analyses and the syntheses, they don’t come up with serious, substantial criticisms. What prevails, at least these days, among most of those haters is more in the nature of petty slanders, insults and personal attacks. It’s very low-level, low-minded kinds of attacks, and there’s a real shortage among most of those haters of any kind of substantial analyses of the societal problems that are being tackled and the solutions that are being proposed.

With a few exceptions, you don’t see people writing  papers or giving speeches that are really engaging what Bob Avakian is saying about the strategy for revolution, how to develop a revolutionary movement in the United States, why revolution is necessary and possible, how we could have a realistic chance of winning, what kind of society we could build up, and just how would we go about  it. You know, there’s a whole body of work that Bob Avakian has developed, over decades, with very substantial documents and analyses of these questions, and he’s done a tremendous amount of work to make this readily available. And yet these haters are not so much, in this period at least, characterized by people who really develop counter-arguments and substantial counter-analyses. It really is much more gutter talk and snark. And this has something to do with the prevailing culture. There are many people in the culture generally these days who seem to make it a hobby to tear down other people with petty slanders and insults. It’s all over the internet and stuff. But, with regard to Bob Avakian specifically, this takes the form of a tremendous amount of passionate vitriol against him. And you have to ask yourself: Why would some people so passionately hate someone who has spent his whole life dedicating himself to trying to serve the people, and to the emancipation of humanity? You can agree or disagree with his specific arguments and analyses, you can have substantial differences, and so on, and you can debate these and discuss these in a principled manner. But why on earth would you be trying to personally attack and tear down someone who has not been trying to promote himself or sell you anything or feather his own nest, or anything else of that  nature? Quite the contrary, he’s dedicated his entire life to serving the people and trying to come up with solutions to the horrors of the system and to being able to bring into being a new society that would be better for the vast majority of people in this country and the world. So why would anyone actually have such passionate hatred for someone like this?

And it’s important to make a scientific assessment of those kinds of tendencies, besides just recognizing the prevailing culture of snark, which is a disgusting feature in society more generally these days. Again, I feel you have to further explore why some of these haters, most of whom today don’t even bother to familiarize themselves with BA’s extensive body of work or engage it with any seriousness, are nevertheless so bent on spewing so much hateful vitriol in his direction. Why is that, really? And I think that, to get at what’s really going on with this, you have to ask those people  some pointed questions: What’s YOUR analysis  of the problem? What’s YOUR analysis of the solution? What are YOU putting forward, and arguing for? What kind of resistance are YOU organizing? What are YOUR strategic objectives? What kind of new society are YOU proposing and how are you proposing to get there? If you don’t think  this system  needs  to be overthrown and dismantled through revolution, then what program and solutions are YOU proposing? What is YOUR plan for getting rid of the incessant outrages and abuses generated by this system and built into its foundations, such as the police murders of Black and Brown people and the slow genocide of mass incarceration; the patriarchal culture of rape, degradation and dehumanization of women and denial of the right to abortion; the wars of empire, armies of occupation and crimes against humanity perpetrated on a regular basis by imperialism; the closing and militarization of borders and brutalization and dehumanization of immigrants; the accelerating and multi-faceted degradation of the global environment that is being driven by imperialism towards a literal tipping point of no return. What is YOUR solution to all this? What do YOU propose?

We should be confronting those haters with such questions. We shouldn’t let them  get away with spewing hatred to try to tear down and diminish BA, and by extension everyone working with BA, just because they themselves have nothing much of substance or value to propose. If they don’t like what BA and the RCP are analyzing and proposing, why don’t they just go do their  own work on solving the problems of humanity!

I think some of these people just want to keep one foot in the system, you know? Why are they kicking and screaming at the prospect of going towards a new society that could benefit the vast majority of people? Would they actually prefer to keep things as they are? This is particularly characteristic of some of the petit bourgeois strata, in other words, the people in the middle classes. Not all of them, of course, but some of the people in the middle strata want to keep at least one foot...Look,  by definition, that’s what the petite bourgeoisie is, right?  It’s the class that  sits in between the proletariat and the most oppressed at the bottom of society, on the one hand, and the ruling  bourgeois, the ruling  capitalists, on the other  hand. So they’re kind of in an in-between limbo, and it’s pretty common for many of them  to hedge their bets and try to keep one foot in both worlds–one foot in the current system,  because, if they’re being honest, they still kinda like living under this system, from which they still derive quite a few advantages and privileges; and one foot which, at least in their better moments, might be willing to step into the future, because many of them do recognize that this system is a horror for the people at the bottom especially, and many, again in their better moments, would sincerely like to get to a more just and equitable society. But they are often reluctant to upset the applecart and do what needs to be done to get there. So they remain torn. Some of them end up playing very positive roles and contributing  in various ways to the overall process aimed at emancipating the oppressed, the exploited, and ultimately all of humanity. But some of them get downright nasty and try to hold back, and tear down, those people and forces that are actually going forward and working on getting organized for an actual revolution and a fundamental change in the system running society. So judge for yourself.

And we can talk about  that  some more. But, I guess I’d like to ask people to think  for a minute about respect and about disrespect; about people who prove, over and over again, that they have principle and integrity, and a generous and broad-minded spirit, and who are trying to change the world for the betterment of humanity, versus, on the other hand, people who seem to spend a great deal of their time mainly tearing other people down, and spreading petty, snarky, vindictive slanders and insults and launching personal attacks while themselves having very little to offer people in terms of a viable and realistic way out of the horrors of the system, and very little to offer people in terms of a concrete plan for how to remake an entire society on a basis free of institutionalized exploitation and oppression. So, please, people, think about this contrast. Because it is burdensome and damaging when there are people who are always kind of nipping at your heels, trying to get in the way, and especially trying to get in between Bob Avakian and the people he’s trying to speak to–constantly nipping, nipping, back-biting, trying to tear down. Is this really what should be going on?

Have some principle, have some integrity. If you have disagreements on matters of substance, by all means write them up, make speeches, make analyses, make them known. If you have alternative programs and approaches, by all means bring them forward. But do it in a principled manner, with principle and integrity. Don’t go down in the gutter, nipping at people’s heels and trying to get in the way, trying to prevent them from connecting to the people they are trying to reach.

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #522 December 18, 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/a/513/bob_avakian-a-question-of-basic-stand-and-orientation-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 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/519/a-righteous-upsurge-against-sexual-assault-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 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/521/opening-talk-refuse-fascism-december-10-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 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!

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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.

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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.”

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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.

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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/522/art-exhibit-imperialist-ideology-and-donald-duck-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic

How to Read El Pato Pascual (Donald Duck) Art Exhibit

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I recently went to an art exhibit, “How to Read El Pato Pascual (Donald Duck): Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney” at two galleries in Los Angeles. This exhibit is part of a larger series of exhibits, “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Latin American & Latino Art in LA.” 

The El Pato Pascual exhibit, with over 150 works by 48 Latin American artists, investigates and challenges nearly 100 years of cultural influence between Latin America and Disney. Many of the pieces show how the artists depict the role of Walt Disney’s comic characters in forcing American culture and economic values on the people in Latin America.

The idea for the exhibit came from the book Para Leer al Pato Donald (How to Read Donald Duck) by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart. The book was published in 1971 in Chile at a time when there was social and political unrest and a section of the Chilean people was opposing U.S. imperialism.

Dorfman wrote about the reason this book needed to be published:

It was meant to respond to a very practical need: the mass media stories Chileans had been consuming, that mentally colonized the way they lived and dreamed of their everyday circumstances, didn’t faintly match the extraordinary new situation in their country. Largely imported from the United States and available via outlets of every sort (comics, magazines, television, radio), they needed to be critiqued and the models and values they espoused, all the hidden messages of greed, domination, and prejudice they contained, exposed.

After the U.S. CIA initiated the coup in Chile in 1973 that overthrew the elected President Salvador Allende and put the U.S. puppet dictator Augusto Pinochet in power, the book was banned and Dorfman and Mattelart were forced into exile. Pinochet’s government collected all the books and televised the burning of them, reminiscent to the Nazi book burnings in Germany. (For more on this, see American Crime series Case #57: The 1973 CIA Coup in Chile.”)

There were attempts to ban the book in the U.S. Walt Disney filed lawsuits claiming the book violated copyright protection laws. Disney lost the lawsuits and the book was allowed in the country.

The book has been published in 10 different languages. The English edition was published in 1975 with an introduction written by UCLA Professor Emeritus of Art History David Kunzle and an appendix written by John Shelton Lawrence, professor emeritus at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. (The book can be found online.)

In the introduction, Kunzle writes:

It is no accident that the first thoroughgoing analysis of the Disney ideology should come from one of the most economically and culturally dependent colonies of the U.S. empire. How To Read Donald Duck was born in the heat of the struggle to free Chile from that dependency; and it has since become, with its many Latin American editions, a most potent instrument for the interpretation of bourgeois media in the Third World.

This exhibit is currently housed in two locations—the Luckman Gallery at Cal State LA and the Schindler House in West Hollywood. The art at the Schindler House is more representative of Dorfman’s and Mattleart’s book and of the role Disney played in Chile, while the art at the Luckman Gallery has a wider range of contextualization of how Disney is viewed by Latin American artists.

Jesse Lerner, Professor of Media Studies at the Claremont Colleges, and one of the two curators of the exhibit, gave me a personal tour of a small section of the exhibit. He and co-curator, artist Ruben Ortiz-Torres, have published a wonderful book with the title of the exhibit. The book has a collection of writings and photographs of all the art in the exhibit. The book is in English and Spanish.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lerner said about the exhibit: “Disney borrows from Latin America, they turn it into something Hollywood, they send it back to Latin America, and the Latin Americans do something else with it and send it back.”

The way Ortiz-Torres put it: “Disney appropriates and the people appropriate Disney. It’s a constant dispute.”

As someone who did not know about Dorfman’s and Mattelart’s book, but knew about Disney in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, I found many art pieces thought provoking. You can feel the anger of the artists in many of the works, as well as the juxtaposition of Disney’s happy cartoon characters alongside the reality of the lives of the masses in Latin America and their struggles.

The Pacific Standard Time LA/LA exhibitions are composed of about 100 separate exhibits that are housed from Riverside, to San Diego, to Santa Barbara, with the majority of them in Los Angeles. The full exhibit will close in mid-January. Topics of the exhibit are Art and Activism / Borders, Diaspora & Displacement /Critiquing Globalism and Modernism / Definitions of Identity, Design/Architecture / Film/Music/Dance Series / From Abstract to Conceptual Art / Pre-Hispanic to Colonial.

People who are living in Southern California or going to be visiting there in the next month should check this out.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/the-seven-forbidden-words-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

The 7 FORBIDDEN WORDS

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Major news sources are reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—the main public health institute in the U.S.—have been notified by the Trump/Pence regime that they are prohibited from using seven words in any documents related to next year’s budget: fetus; transgender; science-based; evidence-based; vulnerable; entitlement; and  diversity. Well, let’s dig into what this is about.

Ordering the government agency most responsible for public health and disease control to stop using the terms “science-based” and “evidence-based” is elevating the authority of the “opinions” of the fascist state, and the fundamentally anti-scientific teachings of Christian fascism, above the very method and approach of science that is the only way to determine what is true.

The “suggested” replacement for the term “science-based” is chilling: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” What will it mean for scientific medical research to be confined to suit “community standards and wishes”? Take the situation with the widespread and unscientific rumors spread among people in recent years that vaccines cause autism, leading parents to refuse to vaccinate their children against many diseases. Scientific research, however, has determined that vaccines are not the cause of autism, and that they are vital for preventing serious diseases. Will the CDC be prevented from informing the public that those “community standards and wishes” are wrong, and that vaccines are safe and necessary?

Banning the word “fetus” is consistent with the outrageous language in the impending new tax law, and in the strategy statement of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that oversees the CDC, where the word “fetus” has been replaced by the term “unborn child.” These changes are the institutional preparations for a change in U.S. law to serve the Christian fascist goal of establishing the falsehood that “life begins at conception” and criminalizing abortion.

Banning the word “transgender,” and with it the particular medical needs of this section of society, such as hormone treatment and gender confirmation, goes hand in hand with the fascist goal of dehumanizing gay and transgender people and declaring them “deviants,” on the road to criminalizing the entire LGBTQ segment of society.

Eliminating “diversity” is part of reasserting white supremacy and male supremacy in the field of health, and ending the attention to research addressing the health needs of Black and other oppressed people, or women, or expanding the reach of programs where they have historically been excluded.

The elimination of the words “vulnerable” and “entitlement” go hand in hand with the ideology behind the new tax law, and the new fascist norms reflected in it—the enforcement of the crude capitalist principle as the policy of the state: “If you can't afford it—whether health care, food, or housing—then you shouldn't have it.” The concept of “entitlement,” that the government is responsible for providing any kind of social services—medical care, basic food nourishment, housing—to those most “vulnerable” and in need of them is now viewed as at odds with the way society should operate.

The Trump/Pence regime is carrying out a strategy, very much driven by the needs of this capitalist-imperialist system and the demands of the Christian theocrats, to reorganize society in a fascist way. To do that, they have to put an end to the expectations that the government has any responsibility for the lives of the masses of people; reverse the gains of struggles waged to overcome discrimination and repression; deny women control over their own bodies and LGBTQ people their very humanity; and threaten Black, Latino and other oppressed people with even more unrestrained police terror and discrimination on a whole new level.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/yemen-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

America—A Force for Good in the World?
Tell That to the People of Yemen

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What would you say and what would you do if you knew the United States was helping wage a war of starvation against millions of the world’s poorest people? A war waged by bombing farms and markets, attacking fishing boats, and blockading food shipments. A war that has left three-fourths of a country’s people, including children, without enough food and millions on the brink of starvation.

Take a hard look at what’s going on right now in Yemen. The U.S. has staunchly backed Saudi Arabia’s war there for nearly three years, supplying billions in bombs and military equipment, refueling its warplanes, providing intelligence, and supporting its naval blockade.

The aim of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is to crush the Houthi rebellion because they see it as a threat to their reactionary interests. The Houthi movement is based among followers of the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam, who make up more than a third of Yemen’s 25 million people. The Houthis are fighting under the reactionary Islamist banner of Ansar Allah (Partisans of God) and are politically supported by and have some ties to the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran. But the Saudi-U.S. war isn’t just targeting Houthi fighters but millions of civilians as well.

Bombing Fishing Boats and Water Facilities

On December 12, a fishing boat off Yemen’s coast was attacked without warning by a Saudi helicopter. This wasn’t an accident or an isolated incident. Fishing is crucial to Yemen’s shrinking food supply, and Saudi Arabia and its allies have attacked 250 Yemeni fishing boats and killed 152 fishermen so far.

There have also been 942 Saudi air attacks on farms, 114 on markets, 34 on mosques, 147 on school buildings, 26 on universities, 378 on transport, and 61 on food storage sites since March 2015, according to a December 12, 2017 article in the Guardian . Saudi ships (with U.S. naval support) blockade the ports of a country that imports 80 percent of its food. All this is evidence, according to one study, of a deliberate strategy “to destroy food production and distribution” in Houthi-controlled areas. Saudi bombing has left 20 million people in Yemen without access to clean water and sanitation along with adequate food. The result is mass hunger, looming famine, and the largest cholera epidemic in history, now affecting over 800,000 people, half of them children under 18, with 4,000 new cases every day.

The UN calls “deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival ... such as clean water, food and medical services” an act of genocide!

U.S. Response to the Human Catastrophe

How have the U.S. rulers, who claim to be a force for good in the world, responded to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen? With outrage at images of mothers desperately comforting their cholera-stricken infants? Condemnation of the famine stalking millions, crippling its youth? Declarations that the killing must end after news of the latest Saudi air massacre, which killed another 39 people in Yemen’s capital Sana'a?

In a high-profile press conference on Yemen this past week, America’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, made no mention of the millions on the verge of perishing from starvation or cholera because of U.S.-Saudi collaboration. She didn’t display any of the hundreds and hundreds of U.S. bombs and missiles that Saudi Arabia has dropped on water and sewage treatment plants, hospitals and clinics, apartments and mosques, and funerals and wedding parties in Yemen.

Instead, Haley directed her outrage... at Iran. Presenting what she declared was part of an Iranian missile fired from Yemen at Saudi Arabia, Haley claimed it proved that the Iranian regime was supplying the Houthis. She accused Iran of being responsible for the carnage in Yemen and claimed it poses “a threat to the peace and security of the entire world.” Offering no proof of where or when the missile she displayed was recovered, made, or used, Haley denounced Iran for “allowing missiles like this to be fired over innocent civilians”—as Saudi-dropped U.S.-made bombs and missiles are raining down on Yemeni civilians!

Who’s Greatest Mass Murderer on the Face of the Earth?

So in the face of Yemen’s deepening hell of hunger and famine, Haley reaffirmed U.S. backing for Saudi Arabia’s barbaric war and escalated threats against Iran, raising the danger of even greater slaughter to come. (See sidebar.) The U.S. hand in the genocidal war in Yemen isn’t some “unfortunate exception.” In the name of “freedom,” “democracy,” and “saving lives,” the U.S. has repeatedly targeted civilians and carried out massacres: three million in the 1950-1953 Korean War, 500,000 by Indonesian generals at the behest of the CIA in 1965; two to three million during the 1965-75 Vietnam War; over a million Iraqis by starvation and disease due to U.S.-UN sanctions in the 1990s; over 1.3 million in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan as a result of the unending “war on terror” launched in 2001; and the list could go on and on.

This staggering violence and slaughtering civilians has been carried out to maintain and expand America’s global empire of capitalist exploitation and oppression—a system that has ground up the lives of literally billions.

Are these the actions of a “force for good in the world”?

Stop Thinking Like Americans and Start Thinking About Humanity!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/overturning-net-neutrality-and-specter-of-internet-censorship-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

The Overturning of Net Neutrality and the Specter of Internet Censorship

December 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Up until last week, the big corporations that control access to the Internet were officially supposed to treat all traffic on the net equally, no matter the source, as long as the content was not illegal—whether that content was from multi-billion entertainment companies or musicians getting their work out to fans or a revolutionary website like revcom.us or anyone else. This is known as “net neutrality.” Now, in the society we live in, marked by sharp class divisions and inequality, there has never been equal access to the Internet, for example, for kids in run-down inner city schools as compared to those in well-funded suburban schools. And the workings of capitalism have led to a situation where a few mega-corporations backed by big capital basically control much of the traffic on the web. But net neutrality has been the guiding principle on the Internet since it started.

On December 15, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), headed by a Trump/Pence appointee, overturned regulations protecting net neutrality. The move will have far-reaching effects on what people can access on the Internet and how—including content that those in positions of power see fit to censor.

In a November 24 interview on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Radio, Corynne McSherry, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that net neutrality was “really about protecting freedom of expression online.” McSherry went on to explain:

“Basically net neutrality is a set of rules that makes sure that internet service providers (ISPs) that we rely on for internet access—people like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T—basically play fair and don’t get to sort of pick winners and losers online because they’re in a position where they’re our conduit to the Internet. That’s how you get to the Internet, that’s how you access Netflix but it’s also how you access government websites, libraries, school, education, right? We all rely on the Internet for all kinds of basic services and also to organize politically, connect to communities, and that’s fantastic. The Internet can be a wonderful place for that, but to get to it, we have to rely on these internet service providers, which usually, in most markets, are monopolies. You don’t have a choice.

“So up until two days ago we had a set of rules in place that were enforced by the FCC that prohibited those ISPs from, for example, favoring one web site over another, making it so that if you are a user trying to access a web site, one of them goes really nice and fast and the other one is kind of slow and clunky. The ISPs can do that—they can prioritize certain services and we had rules in place to say no, you can’t do that, that’s unfair. You would be abusing your monopoly power if you did that. What the FCC is proposing to do is to scrap all of those rules; just get rid of them. These rules have been in place since the birth of the Internet, basically. It’s been an understanding that this is what you had to do. The FCC says no, we don’t think you need to comply with any of these rules and obligations and just go ahead, do what you want.”

The only requirement that Trump’s FCC put on the ISPs is that they be “transparent” when they are privileging one source or kind of internet traffic over another—in other words, robbery in the form of demanding people fork up more to get good internet access (and punishing those who don’t “pay up”) is OK as long as the perpetrators are open about it. There are predictions that the abolishing of net neutrality rules will enable the already highly profitable corporations like Comcast and AT&T to gouge even more from people who are putting content on the Internet and those who want to get information out online. They will be able to impose a “tiered payment structure” regulating internet access to various sites and content providers. Those who are able to “pay” will have faster access while those who can’t will be relegated to frustratingly or impossibly slow speeds. This will further exacerbate the divides between those who are backed by big capital and others, further silencing the voices of those who are already marginalized now under this system. And given that more than 46 million households in the US have only one ISP to turn to, they will be held hostage to whatever those monopoly ISPs do.

The move against net neutrality will reinforce and further heighten the concentration of control over the Internet by big capital. And the wiping out of net neutrality regulations is in line with the Trump/Pence regime’s approach of gutting one government regulation after another—on environment, workplace safety, consumer protection, and more—in order to give freer rein to capitalists’ pursuit of profit.

Beyond this, the banishing of net neutrality opens the door wider for political censorship on the Internet. Before getting into the issue of censorship per se, it should be noted that while the Internet has been a valuable tool for people engaged in radical resistance and thinking, it has also played a major role in the promotion of the false, unscientific notion that truth of an idea is determined by how many people are behind it—what’s known as populist epistemology. Given this—along with the major hand of big capital—the Internet was never the medium of “unfettered democracy,” as proclaimed by many, or the source of unvarnished truth. However, the further top-down control over the Internet that the end of net neutrality will allow is not a good thing for the people.

Corynne McSherry of the EFF pointed out, “[Censorship] is absolutely a possibility. The reason I know that is because they’ve already done it. And they’ve been caught many times... and they’ve been held accountable because we have rules in place. We don’t have those rules anymore. If this order goes through we don’t have those rules. We’ve seen a Canadian ISP block access to a site that provided information about abortion. That was absolutely a political choice. When it was caught, there was a big uproar around it and that’s great but they won’t always get caught, right? And they’ll do it or they’ll throttle it, they’ll slow it down so suddenly you say, ‘Oh I’m not even going to bother to go to that web site because it’s so slow. I’m going to go to this other one over here.’ This is absolutely a real, real not just a possibility it’s a probability.”

The American Civil Liberties Union pointed to several other previous examples of censorship, including:

*In 2007, AT&T, which was streaming a concert by Pearl Jam in Chicago, cut off the sound as Eddie Vedder sang, “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush, find yourself another home.”

*In 2005, the Canadian telecom Telus blocked its internet subscribers from accessing the website of the union that was on strike against the company.

*In 2007, Verizon cut off access to a text-messaging program used by NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) to reach its supporters, saying that it would not service any programs for groups “that seeks to promote an agenda or distribute content that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users.”

To be clear, political censorship and repression on the Internet—on a huge scale—has been carried out by not just the telecoms but the U.S. government and its spy agencies. Witness the exposures over the last few years by Edward Snowden and others of the massive surveillance by the National Security Administration (NSA) on the Internet and phone communications of literally billions of people worldwide. For all their talk about “democracy” and rights,” for the capitalist-imperialist rulers, this pervasive surveillance and outright censorship and harassment is about trying to control everyone’s activity, communications and thinking in order to protect their rule over the people.

Now all this is being take to new ominous levels by the Trump/Pence regime. Earlier this year, for example, the U.S. government ordered the website that was used to organize people for the political protests against the Trump inauguration to turn over information on roughly 1.3 million visitors to the site. And the Homeland Security Department demanded that Twitter hand over the user(s) behind an account critical of Trump. The demand was withdrawn, but around the same time, Trump signed a bill releasing the ISPs from responsibility for protecting the data of users. As a Wired magazine writer commented, such moves “create the conditions that allow a regime, whether it’s headed by Trump or another administration down the line, to squelch dissent. It’s part of a broader trend around the world, in which numerous governments are whittling away at internet freedoms.”

The erasing of net neutrality is taking place in the context of the Trump/Pence regime’s rapid-fire assaults on civil liberties and the rights of the people. This is a regime that brands a large sections of the media as “fake news” and even paints them as the “enemy”... that has backed the “free speech rights” of open fascists and white supremacists while attacking radical professors and student protesters... that is “investigating” activists protesting police murder of Black people, labeling them as “Black Identity Extremists”... and carrying out other outrages. In this light, the repeal of net neutrality is another major step in the Trump/Pence regime’s march toward fascist consolidation of power.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #522 December 18, 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.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #522 December 18, 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.

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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 #522 December 18, 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 #522 December 18, 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 #522 December 18, 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 #522 December 18, 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 #522 December 18, 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/522/american-crime-50-us-intervenes-to-crush-1917-russian-revolution-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

American Crime

Case #50: U.S. Intervenes to Crush the 1917 Russian Revolution

December 19, 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.

 

U.S. troops march through Russian street of Vladivostok.
The U.S., Britain, France, and other countries joined Russian counter-revolutionaries in a battle to overthrow the new revolution. This was the Civil War of 1918-1921, pitting the “White” armies and their imperialist backers against the revolution’s fledgling Red Army. The U.S. sent a “White” army of 13,000 to Siberia: 5,000 to Arkhangelsk and 8,000 to the port city of Vladivostok (shown here).

 

THE CRIME:  One hundred years ago, in October 1917, the Russian people, led by V.I. Lenin and the Communist (or Bolshevik) Party, rose up in revolution and overthrew the country’s old, oppressive system rooted in capitalism and feudalism.* It was an earth-shaking, earth-changing event. It was the first attempt in modern history to build a society free from exploitation and oppression, aiming for a communist world. This socialist revolution electrified people the world over, and served as an inspiration and model of what they, too, could achieve.  

But the U.S. and oppressors in Russia and the world over saw this liberating revolution as a nightmare and a threat, and they immediately moved to crush it. Over the next several years their assaults took the lives of millions in the new society.  

The new revolutionary state (later named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union) had immediately begun implementing its promise of “peace, bread and land.” The old Russian regime had joined the imperialist bloodfest of World War 1 (1914-1918) as one of three major "Allies" (with Britain and France; the U.S. joined the war on the same side in three years later) against Germany and its partners. But the new revolutionary state quickly pulled Russia out of the war, took measures to solve the country’s food crisis, and started distributing land to the peasants. The revolution quickly enacted measures for women’s equality, including the right to abortion and divorce. It upheld the right of self-determination for the oppressed nations within old Russia’s Tsarist empire, and outlawed anti-Semitism. In December 1917 it repealed all laws against homosexuality.

For the U.S. and its British and French allies in particular, this communist revolution represented a grave challenge to their system overall, and the Bolshevik withdrawal from World War 1 was an immediate threat to their plans to defeat Germany and divide the spoils of war. 

So the U.S., Britain, France, and other imperialist powers quickly moved to defeat the revolution and restore their former allies to power. The war had already inflicted a staggering toll on the Russian people—nearly 1.5 million dead, three million wounded, and widespread famine. Now the imperialists wanted to snuff out their hopes for a new society and drag them back into the reactionary slaughter.

In 1918, the British-French-American alliance took steps to isolate revolutionary Russia politically and economically, imposing a punishing economic blockade: for two years no food, medicine, fuel, or other goods could enter the country. This included the world’s first oil embargo. 

Then the U.S., Britain, France, and nearly a dozen other countries joined forces with Russian counter-revolutionaries in an all-out battle to overthrow the new revolution and re-establish the old, oppressive order. This was the Civil War of 1918-1921, pitting the “White” armies and their imperialist backers against the revolution’s fledgling Red Army, made up mainly of workers and peasants. The Whites were a reactionary collection of anti-communists and opponents of the revolution—Tsarist military officers, ultra-nationalist Russian chauvinists and anti-Semites, monarchists, religious fanatics, and various reformist democrats. Most saw themselves, as one White general put it, as “fighting for Western civilization and culture”—white European supremacy, patriarchy, religious obscurantism, and brutal colonialism.

The Western imperialists backed the White armies with troops, military advisers, weapons, munitions, money, and political support.

The U.S. sent 13,000 troops, far more than any other world power, to Siberia. Nearly 5,000 landed in the city of Arkhangelsk and fought the Red Army from September 1918 through July 1919, inflicting casualties and destruction. Another 8,000 U.S. troops moved into the port city of Vladivostok, the staging point for a multinational fighting force including Japan and China.

Meanwhile, French forces took control of the key Black Sea port of Odessa in Ukraine, which at that time was part of Russia. The British backed the butcher General Denikin with arms, munitions, and troops as he advanced toward Russia’s capital Moscow.

White armies attacked the revolution from the south, north, northwest, and east. Their campaign came to be known as the “White terror.” In the Civil War’s first days, the Bolsheviks controlled at most one-third of Russia’s vast territory.

In southern Russia, General Lavr Kornilov commanded his troops, “The greater the terror, the greater our victories,” ordering them to take no prisoners and vowing “to set fire to half the country and shed the blood of three-fourths of all Russians.” A general under Kornilov’s command called on people to arm themselves to destroy “the evil force which lives in the hearts of Jew-communists.” In one small town alone, Whites murdered more than 1,500 Jews, mostly the elderly, women, and children. Some 100,000 to 150,000 Jews in Ukraine and southern Russia were killed in pogroms (lynch-mob-like attacks), and hundreds of thousands more were left homeless, with tens of thousands falling victim to serious illnesses.

In the Don region, the regional Soviet government was defeated in 1918 and replaced by a White Cossack regime, which proceeded to shoot or hang 45,000 people, and in that same year mass executions occurred in other southern Russian territories under White occupation.

In the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East, Cossack warlords practiced great cruelty. In September 1918, during the suppression of a peasant uprising in Slavgorod, the Cossacks killed up to 500 people. The village of Black Dole was burned down and the peasants were shot, tortured, and hanged from pillars, including women and children. Girls and women of Slavgorod and surrounding areas were raped and then shot. Some victims under Cossack rule had their eyes gouged and tongues and strips of flesh from their backs cut off, others were buried alive, or tied to running horses. In these regions the White terror took an estimated 300,000 lives.

In the Siberian city of Omsk in the east, an eyewitness reported, “At a time when the wives of dead comrades, day and night looked in the snow for bodies, I was unaware of the horror behind the walls of the guardhouse. At least 2,500 people were killed. Entire carts of bodies were carried to a city, like winter lamb and pork carcasses. Those who suffered were mainly soldiers… and workers.”   

After three years of fierce fighting, the revolutionary people and their Red Army were able to defeat the Whites, and the foreign powers, including the U.S., were forced to leave.

The cost was horrendous. The blockade and then the Civil War had forced people to leave the cities to forage for food and fuel. In the bitter winter of 1919, people who’d frozen to death lay in streets, homes, and hospitals. Diseases ran rampant, with millions dying of typhus in 1920 alone. Millions more died of starvation. By 1922 there were more than seven million hungry children roaming the streets. The economy was devastated: factories and bridges had been destroyed, mines flooded, machines damaged, industrial and agricultural production vastly reduced. All told some five to seven million died of starvation and disease during and immediately after the Civil War. 

These horrors were supported, enabled, deepened, or carried out by the invading imperialist powers, including the “freedom loving” United States.

THE CRIMINALS

President Woodrow Wilson: Famous for issuing declarations upholding the right of nations to self-determination, Wilson granted the Russian people no such right to determine their future. He sent 13,000 troops, far more than any other world power, to intervene in the Civil War in the attempt to defeat the Red Army, destroy the fragile socialist revolution, and drag Russia back into World War 1. Wilson may also have sought to recover U.S. military equipment and advance other U.S. interests in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, but clearly, he wanted the revolution stopped dead in its tracks. 

Winston Churchill: Churchill was perhaps without peer among major Western imperialist leaders in his desire to see the Soviet revolution defeated. As the Secretary of State for War and Air in Britain, then the world’s leading imperialist power, Churchill considered the revolution an abomination and called on the invading allies to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its cradle.”  

The governments of the other invading nations: Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, France, Japan, China, Greece, Estonia, Serbia, Italy, Poland, and Rumania

General Lavr Kornilov: As leader of the White forces in southern Russia, Kornilov made good on his statement, “The greater the terror, the greater our victories.” In the Don region village of Lezhanka, for example, Kornilov’s officers kill more than 500 people. In April 1918, a Soviet artillery shell killed Kornilov, who was replaced by General Anton Denikin, who took the White terror to an even higher level. In the territories they occupied, Denikin’s forces engaged in mass executions and plunder. In one town, in September 1918, 4,000 people were massacred, and the press during the Denikin regime in the Don region constantly incited violence against communist Jews and Jews believed to be communists. During the Civil War, an estimated 50,000 Jews were murdered by Denikin’s Whites and other anti-Soviet forces. Meanwhile, in eastern Russia, Admiral Alexander Kolchak ordered his troops to raze whole villages to the ground. In some Siberian provinces, 20,000 farms were destroyed and more than 10,000 peasant houses were burned down.

THE ALIBI:

The U.S. and other capitalist-imperialist nations framed their hostility toward and efforts to crush the Russian revolution in its infancy by intervening in the Civil War as a monumental battle between good—Western democracy, freedom, and individual rights—and evil—a monstrous, godless socialism and communism that was destroying the lives of its citizens and was threatening to do the same worldwide.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

The attitude of the U.S. and the other imperialist powers was not, “millions of Russians have rejected their old government and established a new system. It’s their country, let’s give them a chance to see how it works out.” No—the imperialists saw the Bolshevik revolution as a fundamental threat and challenge to their entire system—economically, politically, and ideologically—a whole new and radically liberating model of how society can and should be organized. 

As Raymond Lotta states,

We’re talking about a sea change in human history, the first attempts in modern history to build societies free from exploitation and oppression…. These were titanic risings of the modern-day “slaves” against their “masters.” They aimed to bring about a community of humanity,… one where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world. Never have there been such radical and far-reaching transformations in how society is organized, in how economies are run, in culture and education, in how people relate to each other, and in how people think and feel…”

The Russian revolution and the development of Soviet society also represented an immediate threat to the strategic interests of the U.S. and other capitalist-imperialists, especially their control of the colonial regions of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where the revolution strongly reverberated among the oppressed. In some of those countries and elsewhere, for example, communist parties were formed in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution.

The capitalist-imperialist powers, with the U.S. increasingly in the forefront, remained hostile to the Soviet Union for the three-plus decades it remained a real socialist state, including through economic, political, and military threats and isolation, and the enormous horrors inflicted on the Soviet Union during World War 2.

* For centuries Russia had been ruled by autocratic Tsars (Kings). In February 1917, this autocracy collapsed in the face of popular protests and the withdrawal of support by traditional elites and Russia’s imperialist backers who feared the Tsar was moving to pull Russia out of World War 1. A new bourgeois-democratic, pro-imperialist government was formed. It continued Russia’s participation in World War 1 and left the savage relations of feudal and capitalist exploitation and oppression that underpinned the Tsar’s regime in place. [back]

SOURCES

Raymond Lotta, “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” Revolution newspaper, special edition, November 24, 2013

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution 1917-1932, Opus Books, 1983

David S. Folglesong, America’s Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920, University of North Carolina Press, 1995

Peter Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1918: The First Year of the Volunteer Army, University of California Press, 1971

Dimitri Von Mohrenschildt, ed., The Russian Revolution of 1917: Contemporary Accounts, Oxford University Press, 1971

U.S. and Allied War in Russia, 1918-22, Critical Enquiry,” criticalenquiry.org

Allied Intervention in Russia,” The National Archives (UK)

Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War,” Wikipedia.org

The White Terror (Russia),” Wikipedia.org

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/dear-thomas-friedman-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Dear Thomas Friedman—Go Fuck Yourself

December 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From Thomas Friedman’s December 20 column in the New York Times, “How Trump Made Putin’s Christmas”: “First, we’ve always educated our citizens up to and beyond whatever the main technology of the day was—when it was the cotton gin, that meant universal primary education.”

No, dear Thomas, the cotton gin—which was operated by the slaves themselves—meant the massive expansion of slavery.  It meant 3.2 million people enslaved in the U.S. by 1850.  It meant slaves subject to the “whipping machine”—for the main way productivity was increased was through whipping enslaved human beings every night if they did not meet their assigned quotas.  Quotas which were constantly raised.  (See The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward Baptist.)

Universal primary education?!?  In actual fact, state laws forbade slaves from learning how to read.  Any slave who dared defy that law was subject to murder or mutilation.

Leave aside all the other intellectual crimes of Thomas Friedman (for instance, supporting the war against Iraq, continually shilling for and whitewashing Zionism, globalization, etc.).   What kind of gaping white supremacist mindset can allow the writing of such garbage?  What kind of society is it when the liberals—yes, the liberals—can take someone who has proven himself either an ignoramus or amoral and make him among the most prominent of their pundits?   

A society that is as bankrupt intellectually as it is morally.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/defiant-dream-7-continue-protest-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Defiant “Dream 7”—Just Out of Jail—Continue Protest to Demand Legal Status for DACA Youth

December 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Wednesday night, December 20, seven young undocumented immigrants along with another activist walked out of a Washington, DC jail after six days of a courageous hunger strike behind bars to demand that Dreamers receive legal status. Dreamers, like these hunger strikers known as the Dream 7, are immigrants who were brought to the U.S. without documents when they were children and had been receiving temporary protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The day after getting out of jail, the Dream 7 were right back out on the frontlines, joining a protest at the U.S. Capitol.

In September, the Trump/Pence regime ended DACA 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 begin to face deportation. There have been protests around the country against the government’s threats to deport the Dreamers.

The Dream 7 and another person were arrested on Friday, December 15 after engaging in civil disobedience outside the offices of Democratic NY Sen. Chuck Schumer and Republican Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo. In jail, they began a hunger strike to demand that Schumer and the Democrats push through a “clean” Dream Act, as part of a spending bill being taken up in Congress, giving legal protection to the Dreamers—and not make deals with Trump and accept heightened border “security” and other anti-immigrant measures.

Cata Santiago, one of the Dream 7 said, “Time and time again politicians have failed to stand by our community. Now, at the peak of the Dream Act fight, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats won’t hold their promises to protect us. That’s why, after sacrificing so much in jail for these six days, we are leaving now—because we need to continue mobilizing. The only way we will win is by fighting for our community ourselves, and not relying on politicians like Schumer who just end up letting us down and betraying Dreamers.”

These young fighters are putting a lot on the line with their courageous action and stand. They are an inspiration to others to get out into the streets against the anti-immigrant attacks and other fascist outrages and demand that this regime must go!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/michael-slate-interview-with-Basilisa-alonso-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

Michael Slate Interview with Basilisa Alonso of Our Dream Coalition

The Brave DACA Fighters—Taking Action in the Face of a Dangerous Situation

December 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is excerpted from an interview with Basilisa Alonso Friday, December 18, 2017 for The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theatre, 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.

This interview, which discusses the December 15 civil disobedience action by seven DACA youth (known as the Dream 7) and another activist and their arrest, was done before they were released from jail on Wednesday, December 20.

 

Michael Slate: In September, Trump announced his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that kept undocumented immigrants who'd been brought to the United States as children from being deported. Now, seven DACA recipients have been arrested in the offices of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Carlos Curbelo, demanding that they, along with other members of Congress who previously expressed support for the Dreamers, live up to their word. The DACA recipients are demanding that members of Congress block any spending bill that does not include a Clean Dream Act [giving legal status to DACA recipients].

Here to speak with us is Basilisa Alonso, who is a volunteer with the Our Dream Coalition. I wanted to start by saying that someone called me and said, “Have you seen this? This is so important.” There's so much on the line here, and there's so much bravery, and it's something that people everywhere have to pay attention to, respect, and actually think of what it means for them in the conditions we're living in today. So why don't you tell us about the recent action that was taken by these seven Dreamers?

Basilisa Alonso: Sure. On Friday, seven undocumented youth and one ally went to Sen. Schumer's office and Rep. Curbelo's office. The reason why they went there was because these are two people, especially Sen. Schumer, who has positioned himself to be a leader, and who has multiple times said he stands with Dreamers, but just last week he was already backtracking on that and saying that the Dream Act could be brought up for a vote later on. That's something that is totally different than what he has been saying up until a few days ago.

These really brave people took action, because we're asking that this issue no longer get kicked along down the road. We've been waiting for over 10 years. This has been a long time in the making. People are losing their status—every single day about 120 people. We just can't wait right now. If they say that they stand with Dreamers, then they need to prove it.

Michael Slate: You said it was a very dangerous situation for people. Why?

Basilisa Alonso: Because people are already losing their status. There are about 120 DACA recipients every day that lose status. As we are seeing with our brave comrades who are in jail right now, DACA is no longer a guaranteed protection. ICE has been alerted about one of our colleagues in jail, and that puts the entire group at risk. So ICE could potentially detain them. Every day that they spend in jail heightens the risk of ICE intervening and perhaps detaining them.

This is something that can be fixed. All we're asking is that Sen. Schumer and Rep. Curbelo come out and publicly pledge that they have the votes necessary to stop any spending bill that doesn't include the Dream Act.

Michael Slate: When you talk about what the congressional people are saying, what the system is saying to people, it's very different than what the youth and other people, the Dreamers, are actually demanding. There's a certain amount of righteousness that's really important that's on the side of the people.  And there's a certain amount of dishonesty and just flimflamming on the side of the system.

Basilisa Alonso: You're absolutely right. This is something that we are told some things privately. We are told some things publicly. But essentially what we want is for something to happen already. It's never been “our time.” It's never been the right time for any type of immigration bill to come up. The last time we had any sort of immigration relief was in 1986. We really just can't wait. We need the Dream Act now to protect everyone who is losing status.

We always knew that DACA was only a temporary fix, because that was something that we have to renew every couple of years, and we knew that there was always the possibility that if a president was in office who didn't have the same views as President Obama, they could revoke that at any time, like it has happened.

Politicians have told us, especially Democrats, that they are on our side. This is something we're constantly told, that we have been told for many, many years, that we should focus on Republicans. But let's not forget that in 2010, the Dream Act failed because five Democrats didn't vote with their party. We just want to make sure that everyone remembers that, and that no one forgets that, and that Sen. Schumer actually whips his party to not vote for a spending bill that does not include the Dream Act. And we also need his guarantee that he has the votes necessary to make this happen, to make the Dream Act happen this week.

Michael Slate: This is a very serious matter for many. How many hundreds of thousands of people . . .

Basilisa Alonso: 800,000.

Michael Slate: This is a massive crime against humanity, when they're talking about just rolling down the tracks and deporting people. People don't think about this. It really can go from what it is today—where you're having deportations that are sort of behind the screen—to when you're actually having railroad cars filled with people, deporting them.

Basilisa Alonso: And that's something they can't turn away from. What happened on Friday [with the arrests], we're showing that this is what's going to happen. This is going to be our reality if nothing is fixed. We're also asking that we get the Dream Act, but with no negative attachments. We don't want any money for the Border Patrol. We don't want any money for the wall. We don't want our communities to be criminalized. My parents are not criminals. My parents are the original Dreamers.

We want the Dream Act, but not at the cost of our families. And that's something that they can't turn away from. Sen. Schumer, Rep. Curbelo and the rest of Congress will go home and spend a very lovely time with their family for Christmas. But for our families that's not going to be the case. A lot of us go home every single night and don't know if we're going to see our families the next day. And that's the reality that we live in. I know it's hard for someone who doesn't understand the reality that we live in to wrap their heads around, but that's what's happening.

The fact that seven people are sitting in DC jail right now, and have been exposed to ICE, that's just a reality that Congress can't push aside. They have to face that. They were arrested and they're in DC Jail for simply asking that Sen. Schumer really prove that he is the leader that he says he is and that he really stands with Dreamers. And the same thing with Rep. Curbelo, who says that he stands with Dreamers.

Michael Slate: Just so people know, 11,000 people have lost their status so far, and every day, 122 more people lose their DACA status. So every day without DACA threatens deportations for hundreds of people, right?

Basilisa Alonso: Absolutely. As soon as we lose our status, we are exposed to deportation. That is especially dangerous for people at border towns because of the interaction with the Border Patrol. One thing that Sen. Schumer seems to forget is that New York is a border state. We border Canada. So there's plenty of people, plenty of farm workers, who get deported all the time from interaction with Border Patrol.

So losing our protection is horrible, but the other thing is that we won't be able to work any more. This is going to be one of the most massive layoffs if you think about it like that. We have 800,000 people who are no longer going to be able to work – to contribute to society and provide for their families.

Michael Slate: What if some students are picked up by ICE or whatever, and they're run out like this, what is the impact on the families left behind? Do they then become susceptible to ICE and deportation?

Basilisa Alonso: We simply don't know. The government said, come out, come forward, come out of the shadows. We're going to grant you this protection. Don't be afraid. We won't use your personal information against you. But we don't know if that's going to be true or not with this administration. This administration could potentially utilize the information that we used when we applied for DACA to go after us and our families.

Michael Slate: Tell me something about the people who got arrested. They made a decision that morally and politically, they were not going to bend to the rules. They've undertaken a lot of actions in the jail, I understand.

Basilisa Alonso: They were arrested on Friday [December 15]. Today is the fourth day that they have spent in jail. They have also been engaging in a hunger strike. So their bellies are empty, but we know that they said that their hearts are full with the strength of the community. We are showing up to show them that we are there, that we stand with them. But again, they can come out tomorrow. All we need is for Sen. Schumer and Rep. Curbelo to do their job.

Michael Slate: I'd like you to talk for a minute about the hypocrisy of the Democrats. You have Schumer and all these people, and there's a stench of hypocrisy surrounding everything they're doing in relation to this.

Basilisa Alonso: Absolutely. I come from New York, and when people think of New York, they think of New York City and its welcoming policies toward immigrants. But I grew up right outside of New York in Westchester County, which is a little more conservative. I think that people don't really see New York as a place that's hostile to immigrants, but any place outside of New York City can be a hostile place.

We've been told throughout this very long journey that now is not our time. It's never been our time. It's never been the right time to do something about immigration. When it's midterm year, they say we can't do that because it's going to harm Democrats who are running for reelection. For example, when President Obama came in, he said that immigration was going to be his priority. Latinos came out in support because in addition to education and health care, he said he was going to do something for us, and he didn't. We were put on the back burner. They said wait, now is not your time.

In 2010, when we lost the Dream Act because of five Democrats, they said it was because of reelection. They were facing tough reelection. “But we're with you and we'll do something.” When DACA happened, that was some pressure from our community. We had people sitting in at President Obama's reelection offices to bring attention to the fact that he hadn't kept his promises. So he gave us DACA, but because of the work the community put in.

But then we wanted something more permanent, because we knew that in a sense, that was just breadcrumbs. But again they told us, now is not your time. Now here we are in 2017, and we have an administration that is revving up their deportation machine. They're deporting people indiscriminately. And they're telling us again, this is not the time.

So then when is the time? If we couldn't do it under a Democratic president when we had a majority in both houses, and now we can't do it now with a president who is coming after me and my family, then when is the time? We can't wait any more.

Michael Slate: Absolutely. What kind of response have you been getting from people who hear about this?

Basilisa Alonso: Yes. We have been receiving an outpouring of support from the community. There's been more DACA recipients who have been just inspired by the big sacrifice that these seven people and one ally are taking. They're literally putting their livelihood on the line. That's just something really inspiring. And it's a shame, frankly, that seven people have to risk deportation in order to move leaders in Congress. I really wish that Congress could have a quarter of the strength that these people are showing right now.

Michael Slate: When I heard about this, I was very moved. I thought, here are people whose freedom, whose safety, whose very lives are at risk here if they dare to stand up and do this. I want to talk about that, because there's an overall importance to this action, saying this at this time, under this regime – and we have a fascist regime in power. To stand up against them like this is not only brave, but extremely important in terms of the example it sets for people everywhere else.

Basilisa Alonso: I think that one thing that these folks are giving us is hope. That we can stand up and we can fight back, even under this administration. We may not be able to vote. We may not be able to pay high-powered lobbyists, but we have the power of our stories. That's what they're using. They're using their stories and hopes to motivate the American public to stand with us. Because we can't do this alone. We need those affected, community members and our allies to stand with us. We need congressional representatives to realize that my friends right now have been in jail for four days now. ICE knows about them. And this is something that they can end. We're just asking that they finally do their job after two decades.

Michael Slate: Now, you talk about stories, and that's important as well. Let's talk about that. Give people a sense of what those stories are.

Basilisa Alonso: We have one person who is very young. Her parents are undocumented. They're both farm workers. They work from sunup to sundown. They get treated unfairly; their job is backbreaking. But here she is, speaking up for herself and speaking up for her family, and just taking that risk, because she knows that even if something happens to her, even if she has to suffer for a week to get Congress to act, what we're going to get is hopefully protection for her, but not at the expense of her migrant, farm working parents.

Michael Slate: I think it's so important for people to understand what people are facing and the fact that in the face of all that, that they have the heart and the soul and the thinking—the broadness of mind and the dedication to stand up against this regime and the horror it's bringing down.

Basilisa Alonso: There's a saying, “When they take everything away from you, they even take your fear.” That's a saying very popular in Latin America. We've been pushed to the brink where our backs are against the wall. We are at this point laying all our cards on the table. We are laying our hearts bare. We're saying, we need your help. We need the American public to make those calls, to hold their members of Congress accountable, and we need our undocumented community to stand up. We're not going to let them drive us back into the shadows. That's what they're going to do.

We've been able to come out of the shadows. DACA was a win from the community. We won DACA because we had people, like the people sitting in jail right now, who risked a lot, even with no protection against deportation. They participated in civil disobedience, and they were arrested and they could have been deported. But they put everything on the line to fight for all of us. For all the 800,000 people who have DACA, and for all their families.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/522/acquitted-of-all-charges-en.html

Revolution #522 December 18, 2017

First Six Anti-Trump Inauguration Day Defendants Acquitted of All Charges
Drop the Charges on ALL J20 Defendants!

December 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, December 21, six people on trial for charges stemming from arrests at the defiant protest last January 20 against Donald Trump were found not guilty on all eight counts they were facing—misdemeanor rioting and conspiracy to riot, and five counts of felony property destruction. The jury deliberated for two days before rejecting the government’s attempts to carry out a political railroad of the six J20 defendants. According to a press release from Defend J20 Resistance, “Defendants Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Britt Lawson, Michelle ‘Miel’ Macchio, Christina Simmons, and Alexei Wood left the courthouse today elated by the outcome.”

The government is still intent on bringing 188 remaining Inauguration Day defendants to trial, many facing a possible 60 years in jail. The defeat of the prosecution of the first six defendants was a victory—but all the charges against all the defendants must be dropped!

This prosecution is an act of revenge against the protests that erupted as Trump took office, showing the whole world that there were millions in the U.S. who hate Trump and everything he stands for. But as we have reported, these trials are about much more than revenge—they are a major escalation of fascist repression, with extremely ominous implications.

From the Defend J20 Resistance press release: “Supporters continue to point out that the government has attempted to chill political protest with high-level felony charges and that part of the punishment for defendant’s expressing their views is being forced to endure months of aggressive prosecution and a weeks-long trial. Most of the defendants facing trial have been working together to collectively defend themselves against the outrageous claims of the government, and will continue to do so.

“The trial also underscored the extent to which the Trump administration was actively working with far-right and neo-fascist political groups like Project Veritas, Oath Keepers, Media Research Center and Rebel Media to criminalize and punish anti-fascist and anti-Trump activists. Despite what could be considered collusion with these groups, and the government’s attempt to criminalize ‘anti-establishment’ views, the jury roundly rejected those efforts.”

A hearing in the trial of the next seven Inauguration Day defendants on three misdemeanor charges—rioting, conspiracy to riot and one count of property destruction—is scheduled for January 19. The next trial of people facing the same charges that the first six defendants were acquitted of is set for March 5.

The J20 Defendants must be vigorously defended and supported. And their spirit of determination to struggle and sacrifice in the interests of humanity should be called forth from thousands and millions who need to act with ever more defiance and determination to drive the fascist regime from power.

For more background, see: Michael Slate Interviews Sam Menefee-Libey on Trial of Inauguration Day Protesters: “This really is very frightening”