Revolution #525, January 8, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

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/525/thoughts-on-the-trump-tell-all-book-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Four Thoughts on the Trump “Tell-All” Book

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This week, the publication of excerpts from Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury painted a picture of a White House that was full of chaos and contempt for Donald Trump. A few points here on the book and the fallout:

1.“Tell-all” books—purporting to give the “real, behind-the-scenes” look at palace intrigue—generally focus on gossip and rumor and are notorious for unattributed and/or denied quotes. Those who are quoted are very often trying to maneuver and manipulate within internal power struggles, almost always shading the truth and sometimes just plain inventing. These books are generally not reliable and objective and should not be taken at face value—though they may provide clues to power struggles within an administration.

2.This book does not break anything new. It is not news that Trump is an extremely ignorant and arrogant man who surrounds himself with toadies and backstabbers. On the other hand, it could lend itself to underestimating the danger posed by Trump in particular. Trump has in fact demonstrated tactical skill in the dogfights that go on within the ruling class. He intuited that the straight-up reactionary vision and persona he projects was needed to cohere the base for fascism in this country, and ascended to power on that basis. Notions that Trump is a dummy pure and simple or that the presidency is imploding are dangerous. Fascist regimes generally have their origin in ruling class factions that have not been part of the core establishment and come to power with a necessity and a will to tear apart previous norms and arrangements of ruling. They thus tend to proceed through a certain chaos, incoherence, splits, and improvisation. This one is no different.

3.Some people are now saying that it is time to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president, with a majority of the cabinet, to declare the president incapacitated. Some Democratic politicians and cable news hosts are pushing this particularly hard. But first, who exactly is going to invoke it? Pence? Or the Christian fascists (where Pence has his origins and strength) who have made clear their intense support for Trump? These religious fanatics went all-in for the profane and obscene Trump during the campaign because they believed he would boldly and brazenly tear up the norms and systems of bourgeois democratic rule and enable them to achieve their fascist agenda. And they were proven right—Trump is packing the federal courts with Christian (and other) fascists, moving to gut abortion rights, persecuting LGBTQ people, attacking Islam and Muslim people, breaking down the separation between church and state, and more. To the Christian fascists, Trump is “a miracle”! (In this regard, it may be of significance that the Christian fascists did not seem to have come in for any kind of criticism or embarrassment off the book.) Even if Pence (and the forces he represents) do at some point move on Trump, would it really be better to have an end-times, rapture-believing theocrat with his finger on the nuclear button and his hands on the state apparatus than a demented, openly racist, openly misogynist, unapologetic pig? Second, even if somehow this amendment were to get invoked through congressional action, if Trump then contested it, he would  need the support of only one-third of either the Senate or the House to remain in power. But more than that: it is clear, once again, including as the dust has settled off the frenzy initially surrounding the book, that the ruling class—even those who have serious differences with the fascists—right now plan to do nothing more than maneuver within a world in which that regime holds the reins and is moving for a full-out fascist regime.

4.The take-home is this: Everybody has known for a while that Trump, the head of a whole fascist cabal including Pence, is utterly ignorant, demented, and certainly viciously arrogant, and that—as he so brutally reminded the world just this week—he has “the nuclear button” in his hands. The question confronting the people who know this and find it a nightmare is: Will we act in accordance with this knowledge, or will we continue to try to deny the implications? Will we play the useless and frankly damaging waiting game of elections, or will we act in a way that is commensurate with the danger posed to the very existence of humanity every day this regime is in power?

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/524/are-you-on-the-same-team-as-trump-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Are YOU On The "Same Team" As Trump?

Do YOU Want To Find "Ways to Work Together" With Him As He Installs Fascism? 

This Is What The Top Democrats Say, And Here's Why.

January 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The day after Trump was elected president, Barack Obama said that he and Trump were members of the “same team.” He said they were running a “relay race,” and the election was an “intramural scrimmage” to see who could best represent that team. And now that Trump won “we are all rooting for his success.” 

Why did Obama say this? And why do Democratic Party leaders like Schumer, Pelosi and “Saint Bernie” Sanders, as well as “flavors of the month” like Doug Jones, keep talking about how they’re willing to work with Trump? 

Because they are on the same team. They’re telling the truth about this.  It’s one of the rare cases when they do tell the truth. So people need to face what this means—and its implications for society. 

First, what team are they talking about? It’s “Team America.” It’s the team made up of those ruling and representing America’s capitalist-imperialist system. Let’s not forget that “Team America” founded itself on the genocide of Native peoples and the enslavement of millions of Black people. Team America to this day has white supremacy, male supremacy, and American global supremacy knitted into its very core—it is a capitalist-imperialist system that cannot do without any of that.

And what kind of “work” is it that they’re talking about doing together?  Making sure their “team” and its murderous, oppressive system “succeeds in today’s world.”

The top Democrats do have sharp differences with Trump and the Republicans—but they’re not over how to best serve the interests of humanity; they’re over how to best run their empire and maintain the stability and coherence of their oppressive society at home. 

That means that no matter how sharply the Democrats disagree with this or that Trump policy, they are doing so from within that framework.  So one of their core goals is keeping people loyal to the “team”—their system and working through its social and political channels.

This is why the only thing you can “rely” on these Democrats for is to keep the struggle within the narrowest possible bounds and to use whatever credibility you lend them to suppress those people who DO take this fascist threat seriously—people who do NOT feel as if they are on the “same team” as people trying to restore open white supremacy, people directly threatening nuclear destruction, people unapologetically bragging about sexual molestation and assault. 

Don’t believe it?

What about racism and white supremacy? The Democrats talk of inclusivity and equal right, but in Alabama, Doug Jones didn’t call out Roy Moore’s pro-slavery ravings. He mobilized Black voters on the down-low, while reaching out to Trump’s fascist base. Squarely confronting and challenging the racism and white supremacy at the core of Trump’s fascism has the potential to mobilize millions to become part of driving this regime from power. But the Democrats refuse to do so because they understand white supremacy is woven deeply into the fabric of America and unleashing millions to take it on could threaten or call into question their whole system.

#MeToo and women’s oppression? The Democrat’s quickly ran Al Franken out of the Senate after he was accused of harassing several women. Some Democrats have issued statements against Trump for his sexual predation, but the Democrats have refused to call out people like theocrat Roy Moore and the whole misogynist, Christian fascist agenda at the core of the Trump/Pence regime which aims to strip women of their most basic rights and reassert open patriarchy with a vengeance—much less mobilize the millions awakened by the #MeToo movement to take on this whole regime. Just compare how the Democrats still tolerate and only very mildly and intermittently bring up Trump’s admitted molestation of women to the kind of all-out struggle waged by the Republicans over Bill Clinton’s crap.

Trump’s ugly fascist program has been clear from the day his campaign began and has become uglier, and more apparent and dangerous since.  Yet the Democrats continue to counsel patience and working through the same channels that brought Trump to power in the first place—even muzzling talk, repeat talk, of things like impeachment as a “distraction” from the 2018 elections. 

Given all this, how, in good conscience, can you rely on the Democrats to STOP this monster before he drags down the entire globe in flames?     

So the real question is, which team do you want to be on?  It depends on what you’re trying to do.  If you want to advance and maintain capitalism-imperialism, making some criticisms of Trump where you think he is harming imperialist interests but you don’t want to call out or take on fascism per se, then clearly—the Democratic Party is the thing for you. 

However, if you want to not just criticize and call out, not just take on, but seriously set about preventing the consolidation of fascism and DRIVING OUT this fascist regime, then you need to be on a different team.  Don’t be on Trump’s team; don’t be on the intramural squad that’s scrimmaging against Trump; be on a team that’s trying to really STOP him.

Vote In the Streets With Your Feet! 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/524/check-out-how-that-worked-out-last-time-around-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

The Democratic Party Is Telling You to Throw Yourself Into the 2018 Elections If You Really Want to Stop Trump.

Before You Do, Check Out How That Worked Out Last Time Around.

January 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

George W. Bush began his second term as president in 2004. In 2006, as Congressional mid-term elections loomed, millions of people rightly saw the danger presented by the administration of Bush and his partner in crime, Vice President Dick Cheney, and wanted it removed from office.

Among Bush’s crimes:

Millions of people were sickened and angry at this. They were told to vote for the Democrats as the way to stop all these horrors, and they did.

So what happened?

The weekend after the Democrats took back Congress, Nancy Pelosi, then the Speaker of the House, went on TV and ruled out impeaching Bush, saying it was “off the table.”

Bush escalated the war in Iraq, and the Democrats went along. They had a majority in the House of Representatives, and they assisted Bush & Co. in normalizing the “enemy combatant” status. Congress passed and Bush signed the “Military Commissions Act,” which essentially embedded “enemy combatant” status in law, and allowed imprisonment in the U.S. torture chamber of Guantánamo to continue, without the right to habeas corpus.

With a majority in Congress, the Democrats did nothing about torture, Guantánamo, the meaningful rebuilding of New Orleans, the steady assault on the barrier between church and state launched by Christian fascists associated with or in the Republican Party, or the continuation of virtually all of the PATRIOT Act, in a slightly modified form.

Then Obama came in. Deportations soared to all-time highs. Detention centers for infants and children were authorized. Assassination by drone became government policy. The U.S. military carried out occupations and bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, the Sudan, and other countries. Relentless attacks eroding women’s right to abortion went unopposed by the Democrats. Government spying powers increased under Obama—in his final days in office he signed an executive order handing the Trump/Pence regime expanded powers to collect massive information with little oversight.

And why? Because, as Obama said after Trump was elected, the Democrats and Republicans are all on the same team. Their uppermost concern is the stability and survival of that team and the system it defends. They will do all they can to prevent and contain any turmoil, at most utilizing it for their narrow advantage in disputes with each other ... unless there is upheaval from below that they can not contain and must maneuver some cosmetic changes, in some fashion ... in order to “preserve the team.”

In 2006, the Democrats thought they could best advance their interests by further silencing the masses they had corralled into the electoral cattle pen, even though this meant effectively forcing those masses to go along with the very horrors they wanted to end by voting Democrat. The consequences of masses of people not mounting meaningful opposition outside the electoral framework were catastrophic for humanity, and for the planet.

In 2018, a fascist regime is rapidly consolidating power. The consequences of containing opposition to this within an electoral framework because of the illusory wisp that the Democrats will change things if they “control Congress” will bring incalculable and lasting damage to all humanity and the earth we share.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

Protests Shake Iran!

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A World to Win News Service, January 5, 2018. The Iranian regime has been shaken by a week of intense and often violent protests in as many as 80 cities and towns all across the country.

Unlike the last political upheaval in 2009, when many urban, middle class demonstrators sided with so-called reformist factions within the regime, this time the people taking to the streets, overwhelmingly young men, were mainly from poor and lower-middle class neighbourhoods, often on the outskirts of urban areas where many have arrived from the countryside over the last decade. The regime has considered such people a key part of its social base, or at least counted on them to keep silent. Yet what has most marked this movement is the way it has targeted the whole regime and the Islamic Republic itself, including all of its factions.

The wave of protests broke out on December 28 in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, with a population of two million, in the country’s north-east bordering Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The home-town of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it is considered a stronghold of his “hardline” faction.

As part of infighting within the ruling forces in Iran, “reformist” President Hassan Rouhani had attempted to undermine his rivals by releasing details of the country’s proposed new budget. It calls for cutting back on family subsidies, increasing fuel prices (and therefore the price of many other basic necessities) and privatizing public schools. The budget disclosure also exposed the enormous increase in money going to the military (not just for arms but to enrich the enterprises of its already very wealthy leaders), religious representatives of the regime and the Islamic foundations that are the source of their vast incomes. The “hardline” faction’s local strongman, the city’s Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda who ran against Rouhani in the last elections, struck back at Rouhani by encouraging demonstrations against rising prices. The aim of the prayer leader, known for banning public music concerts, was to use the economic demands of the poor as a battering ram to beat back the lifestyle reforms advocated by Rouhani and his faction.

This was playing with fire, and the flames soon began to target the entire structure of the Islamic Republic that all the regime factions represent and seek to preserve.

The next day the protests spread to the opposite side of the country, the city of Kermanshah in the predominantly Kurdish west. Official inaction in the wake of a disastrous earthquake there last November had already devastated belief in the regime’s legitimacy. That city is a main hub for security forces and their equipment, yet their ambulances, helicopters and earth-moving machinery remained idle as military and civilian authorities failed to lift a finger to rescue trapped survivors or help the tens of thousands of injured. This provoked the chant, “The state is dead!”—indicting the regime for its scant regard for the lives of the minority Kurdish peoples (in much the same way as the Trump regime treated Puerto Rico following the recent hurricane there). People in the streets chanted, “Freedom for all political prisoners” and “Freedom or death!”

By the day after that, the dots marking protest sites formed a thick band across the country. Word was spread by Telegram, an encrypted social media used by tens of millions of Iranians. The hardliners warned that protesters were crossing a red line by opposing the Islamic regime instead of remaining focused on economic hardships. Rouhani called for the authorities to listen to such demands while he also joined in the condemnation of the opposition to the regime. As the rulers debated whether the Islamic Republic would best be defended by an iron fist or a smooth tongue, and while the regime’s Revolutionary Guards hesitated to intervene directly for fear they could no longer portray themselves as the people’s saviour against the politicians if they massacred the population.

The forms of protest ranged from cross-town marches to rallies in public spaces and street corner lightning actions where people assembled and then dispersed before the security forces’ arrival. In the so-called holy city of Qoms, known for its clerical schools, people attacked the Basij (Islamist militia), government buildings and police stations. Water cannons and tear gas were used against small crowds in central Tehran, and dozens of students at Tehran University called on passers-by to join them.

Everywhere people chanted, “You have turned Islam into a spring board to crush the people”, a snappy slogan in Farsi, and “Down with theocracy—the Islamic Republic must be destroyed.” In Zanjan, a crowd tore down and burned a Khamenei portrait billboard. In opposition to the ayatollahs’ slogan when they took power in 1979, “Independence, freedom, Islamic Republic,” the words “Independence, freedom, Iranian republic” rang out, along with “Death to the dictator, Death to Rouhani!” Slogans in favour of the restoration of the overthrown monarchy were also heard. There are no reports of slogans in favour of the reformist Green candidates, who led people into the streets in 2009 when the presidential election was stolen from them. Also missing from this latest wave of protests was the slogan, “Allahu Akhbar,” a further indication of important changes in the outlook of the protesters. One poster simply read: “To all factions of the regime: Game over.”

By the end of a week, the Revolutionary Guards had been deployed to the provinces of Hamadam, Isfahan and Lorestan. The government announced that 22 demonstrators had been killed, along with two members of the security forces, and hundreds were arrested. The authorities organised pro-regime demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, including Mashhad, with thousands attending. “The sedition is over,” the commander of the Revolutionary Guards announced.

The regime factions, which had united around Iran’s nuclear compromise with the West in hoping for an economic boom that would lift their regime, are once again at each other’s throats. The various factions are blaming each other and trying to use the events to gain advantage against their rivals. This split among the rulers has provided a crack through which some of the people’s anger against the regime has burst through, particularly among the lower classes that have played little role in the country’s public politics in recent years, even as the urban middle classes, the main support for the reformist opposition, seem to have decided not to join that radical upheaval for the moment.

These six days of rebellion, among people who had been counted on not to rebel, have given heart to people everywhere, and thrown fear into reactionary rulers beyond Iran’s borders. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed alarm about the implications for regional stability. Even the Saudi government, while rejoicing in the Iranian regime’s troubles, has refrained from saying anything that could encourage others to rise up against religious rule. The fault lines that have broken out into the open have not been resolved. This has brought the first good news the world’s people have had for far too long.

 

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/525/awtwns-from-the-communist-party-of-iran-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

Full text of the Analysis by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) on the Underclass Uprising in Iran:

We will fight the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will organize people for the revolution!

Death to the Islamic Republic—Fight for a new socialist republic in Iran!

“Marxism consists of thousands of truths, but they all boil down to one sentence: it’s right to rebel against reactionaries!” (Mao Zedong)

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A World to Win News Service. A massive social storm has arisen to bury the Islamic regime of Iran. The passionate and joyful voice of struggle of those who have been silenced and bent under the oppression of the corrupt Islamists has coursed through the society. People run into the heart of danger fearlessly as they see a horizon in which the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) that has ruled with religious tyranny for 40 years might cease to exist. With firm, solid steps, we must carry on to reach the point where, on the ruins of the Islamic Republic, we will build a new, fundamentally different state and society. We must not allow the chains of oppression simply to rattle, but not break, as happened in 1979. The religious fascists came to power in Iran by stealing a revolution, and not only was this a disaster for Iran and the Iranian people but it also led to reinforcing reactionary Islamist movements in the Middle East and North Africa. For the sake of the majority of the underclass who rose up, and for the sake of the emancipation of humanity, we must not allow a repeat of such a catastrophe.

The Islamic Republic’s legitimacy was fragile even before this big upsurge, but it has now deteriorated further, irrecoverably. The popular movement quickly moved from economic demands and discontent over inflation to slogans like “death to Khamenei” [the “Supreme Ruler” of the IRI]. At this point, the regime pulled back by reducing the price of foods like eggs, suspending the rise in petrol prices and returning the deposits of those whose money had been stolen by the banks—but this resulted only in mocking laughter among the people and frustration among the rulers.

The leaders of the Islamic Republic are so concerned that every day they provide new grounds for analysis and speculation. Long-standing divisions among them are deepening, and they are unable to achieve a unified solution. There is no common solution even within the main factions of the establishment (reformists and conservatives). At the same time as they order repression, they are terrified by the reaction and call for tolerance. The establishment’s various factions are engaged in a political reckoning amongst themselves, with each attributing the cause and origin of the popular uprising to the “inefficiency” of the other factions and their “conspiracies” and “destructiveness”. The divisions opening inside the ruling establishment gave the underclass and deprived masses an opportunity to rise up and rebel. The rivalry between these various factions and their need to expose the others’ thievery and corruption, as well as President Rouhani’s exposure that the great share of the national budget is allocated to religious institutions, has fueled people’s anger. It does not matter exactly where the people’s uprising started. The uprising was not caused by these fights but it did benefit from them. The cause of the uprising and protest is the capitalist economic system, which is characterized by religious tyranny, injustice and extreme discrimination, poverty, underemployment and high unemployment, and the suppression of any form of protest. This exploitation and repression and the imposition of various types of social discrimination, including in the form of the oppression of women and of the people of different nationalities, are intrinsic to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s very existence. The main origin of the people’s uprising lies in the economic relations of capitalism: on the one hand, the wealth produced by the labour of millions is concentrated in the hands of a small group of parasites, and on the other, the masses are deprived of the fruits of their own labour and lack the most basic human rights. The entire military, security and ideological repressive apparatus is guarding these relations.

In terms of the content of the uprising’s slogans and the determination being shown, it is comparable only to the mass movement that arose against the Shah’s regime in 1978-1979. In political terms, this upheaval is targeting the entire system and its chieftains. In terms of the scale and the composition of the class and the circles involved in the struggle, of its geographical spread and political and practical radicalism, it is unparalleled in the history of the Islamic Republic.

While in the 2009 uprising it was basically the middle classes in several large cities and mostly in the capital Tehran who came to take back their stolen votes, this time the driving forces in the movement are mainly workers, the labouring classes and the poor masses and unemployed concentrated in the small cities, some of whom even have a higher education. The slogan “Death to Khamenei”, which is being shouted today in various cities while people rip down photos of him or Khomeini, is functioning much as did the slogan “Death to the Shah” in 1979, with the pulling down of the Shah’s statues. The slogan “Death to the Shah” was the expression of the masses’ hatred of a tyrannical regime, and the slogan “Death to Khamenei” is the concentration of public hatred of the Islamic Republic and the horrendous crimes and injustices that the exploiting capitalist class and the Islamists who uphold its interests have imposed on the people for four decades. Slogans such as “you have turned Islam into a springboard for making people miserable”, “You hail Hussein [a famous Shiite Islamic martyr], while rape is your habit”, “Death to the Mullah’s rule,” “Death to the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Velayat-e Faqih),” and attacks on mosques, seminaries, and Islamic propaganda centers, are all clearly targeting religion and the theocratic state. And slogans such as “you, reformists, conservatives, your time is up” are calling for a transition from the “conservative” and “reformist” factions of the establishment and putting forward the necessity to overthrow the rule of the Islamic Republic.

All the political forces of the old order, from Trump and Netanyahu to Iran’s Mujahadeen and Royalists, are struggling to stamp their reactionary names on this movement and to put forward their alternatives, which qualitatively are no different from the current order. The leaders of the Mujahadeen are trying―with the backing of the imperialists—to find themselves a place in the post-Islamic Republic order and make the capitalist “free market” in Iran “even more free”. The advocates of the monarchy, whose oppressive dynasty was once overthrown by the people, are calling on people to return to the past, even as the Islamic Republic continues the same crimes and the same exploitative class relations that the monarchy represented.

It is a vital lesson from the history of the Iranian struggle that governments change, that crowns of kingdoms roll in the streets, but if the masses of people allow themselves to be deceived by the programmes of the reactionary classes, if there is no horizon or programme for genuine liberation—if the horizons and programme of the communist revolution are not available and are not taken up by the struggles of the people, then the chains of oppression and servitude will never be ripped asunder, and another round of oppression and backwardness will begin in a different form. During the 1979 revolution, the turban and the pulpit replaced the throne; this not only failed to make any positive change in people’s lives but indeed worsened things hundreds of times.

The middle class has not yet joined the uprising, and even though the “invisible hands” of the capitalist economy have steadily pressed them downwards and their fundamental interests lie in radical changes in society; nevertheless, based on their class position, they are terrified of radical uprisings, of social revolution and of the impoverished strata who are the driving force in such uprisings. The satisfaction of this class with the establishment and with its own social status plays an important role in the regime’s stability. Yet today the Islamic Republic of Iran is unable to stabilize the socio-economic life even for this strata.

The Islamic regime of Iran must be overthrown. What is the social content of this overthrow, and what kind of republic should be built on its ashes to represent the immediate and long-term interests of the majority of the people, including the workers, the toilers of the city and countryside, women, progressive intellectuals, the middle classes, different nationalities, and Afghan immigrants? The separation of religion and state is a just and right demand which calls for a people’s uprising.

The Islamic Republic is an autocratic regime run by an iron fist of security and military repression. Its military and security repressive apparatus must be broken. The Islamic Republic is a social system whose mechanism is based on the degradation and subjugation of women. The freedom and equality of women in law, in the family and in society must be ensured, and men must deeply transform their thinking and their behaviour towards women. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran classifies its people in terms of gender, nationality, and religion, and entitles each group to different “legal” rights. The Islamic Republic opposes the rights and lives of gay people. The unconditional legal equality of everyone inhabiting the country, without any discrimination or distinctions based on gender, nationality, language, sexual orientation, or beliefs, must be ensured. The Islamic Republic is an aggressive military force that provides military and security services to reactionary regimes such as in Iraq and Syria and to reactionary groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and it commits crimes against the people of these countries. The overthrow of this regime and the establishment of a socialist republic will secure the freedom and independence of all the peoples in the region. The Islamic Republic is a state-capitalist state and system that is dependent on imperialism. The overthrow of the Islamic Republic is the first step to cut off the hand of the worldwide capitalist system from the economic, social and political life of this country.

The Islamic Republic, based on capitalism’s profit-driven economy and incompetent management, has devastated the environment and deprived the country’s 80 million people of clean water and air. Without overthrowing this regime, even the first step cannot be taken to restoring the environment. This political-ideological, socioeconomic system is the source of the country’s corruption, embezzlement, and plunder, including of the natural resources and financial wealth, by the statesman of the Islamic Republic.

The people’s slogans

Many of the slogans of this movement are rich and educational and have burned important facts into people’s minds, but key demands and slogans such as the abolition of compulsory veiling and freedom and equality for women, the elimination of national oppression against the non-Persian nations, have not been expressed in any of the protests and rallies. In addition, some slogans are completely against the interests of the people—for example, slogans supporting the return of the Royal family of the Shah to Iran, which is the result of a superficial, impulsive analysis of the Islamic Republic. We should take a deeper look to see the common features of this regime and the Shah’s regime, despite big and important differences. Another example is the slogan for “an Iranian Republic”, which is in complete contradiction with the notion of “republicanism”, as republicanism is based on the principle of the total equality of the country’s citizens, whether they are Iranian or not. Furthermore, the social content of such a republic is unclear and obscure. Amidst the upheaval, people’s thinking must be diverted away from racism and nationalism and transformed based on the coexistence of all nations inhabiting Iran as well as on international solidarity. This uprising can last only if it changes everything, including the thinking of the people who are fighting for this cause and willing to sacrifice their lives for it.

At some demonstrations, people have chanted the slogan, “Get out of Syria, think about us”. Even though the slogan opposes the crimes of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Syrian war, the second part, “think about us,” makes it clear that people chanting this slogan are not concerned with the fact that the Revolutionary Guard supports the brutal, criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad and is the main cause of Syria’s devastation and destruction. The best slogan to attract attention to what really is happening is: “Cut off the hands of the Quds Force (Branch of the Revolutionary Guard fighting in Syria) from Syria!” The same holds for the slogan, “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my soul is for Iran”. Gaza and Lebanon, like Iran and the rest of the world, are grounds where different political forces are manoeuvring. In the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, the Islamic Republic is supporting corrupt groups like itself. The suffering of the people of Lebanon and of Gaza and Syria, Egypt and Turkey are all rooted in the capitalist system. In each country, according to the characteristics and events of history, different regimes sit on the top of this exploitative social system, but all are essentially the same. As a result, our movement for a real revolution in Iran, when taking its first step, i.e. the overthrow of this Islamic regime, will be a breath of fresh air blowing throughout the Middle East and give the region’s people the good news that there is a way to establish a just and decent social system with equality, liberty, and autonomy.

Trump and Khamenei, leaders of two outmoded, reactionary social systems

Trump, the fascist president of the United States, and his vice president, Michael Pence, who in his oppressive religious thought is not much different from Iran’s Mullahs, have said they supported the uprising in Iran. The leaders of the Islamic Republic have expressed hatred for this support and have made it a weapon to stifle the people’s uprising. We too express our disapproval, but for a qualitatively and fundamentally different reason. The reason for our hatred is that the Trump/Pence fascist regime, like the Islamic Republic, represents an outmoded and decaying social system and oppressive, reactionary and oppressive thinking and values. The Trump/Pence regime is deeply misogynist and holds that women should be subordinated to men and that women’s social role should be breeding and serving men. In fact, the Trump/Pence regime wants to imitate the Islamic Republic’s model of the imposition of religious laws to run society and force society to obey biblical rules. The Trump/Pence fascist regime wants to replace the regime in Iran with a power like the one in Saudi Arabia, to better serve US interests. Thus in a movement for revolution whose aim is the overthrow of the Islamic regime of Iran and its political-ideological and socio-economic system, the slogan “in the name of humanity, down with the fascist Trump/Pence regime” must be one of the main slogans, and we should build international unity with the movement in the United States that has set driving this regime out as its goal. We must never forget the internationalist statement by Mao Zedong: “They have their own people here, and we have our own people there.” Our peoples in the United States are the Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans who have been the targets of genocide by the US ruling governments. Our peoples are the revolutionary communists and the women and men fighting for the emancipation of humanity against this imperialist state, and in particular today those fighting for the overthrow of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Plans for suppressing the uprising

Despite the fact that the Revolutionary Guards have stated that “the situation is under control and there is no need for the Revolutionary Guards to intervene”, the general policy of the Islamic Republic is that under conditions where the social upheaval is expanding, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards will intervene and put the police and Basij (reactionary militia) under its control. The breadth and the dispersed character of today’s upsurge is an important advantage, impeding the control of the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence agencies. So they will try to intensify their control in the big cities. The youthful, highly mobile character of this movement has frightened the repressive forces, especially in small towns. In the face of the brutal repression that the police and Basij are using against the protesters, it is the people’s obvious right to defend their lives with violent resistance.

However, it should be noted and kept in mind that the demise of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces will be decided in a planned battle under the strategy of a “people’s protracted war”. This war will organize tens of thousands of young men and women in a struggle to ensure victory. Party activists are obliged to seize every possible opportunity to raise the awareness of the youth involved in the current struggle about this strategy and its requirements.

The Islamic Republic’s repressive apparatus goes hand in hand with its political tricks, with the central policy of “divide and rule”. Today the regime’s main policy, driven by the leadership of the reformists, involves mobilizing the middle strata by terrifying them with fear of the “Syria-ization of Iran” and of social insecurity. There is pressure on artists and athletes who voted for Rouhani during the presidential election to once again mobilize the middle-class against the masses to serve the establishment’s interests, and this time not only to drag people to the ballot boxes but to repress the popular insurrectionary movement. Before the movement began, the Revolutionary Guards had plans to occupy Tehran’s streets under cover of countering the street harassment of women and children—this was opposed by the Interior minister. It is even likely that these types of criminal acts are fueled by the Revolutionary Guard gangsters themselves, to provide cover for winning the support of the middle strata, who fear the uprising. The fear of Iran’s “Syria-ization” is another threat frightening the middle classes. Yet this danger can be demolished only by the overthrow of the Islamic Republic’s entire military and security apparatus. Indeed, today the various gangs in the government have divided Iran among themselves, each with its own loyal military and security force and a monopoly over financial resources.

The intellectuals and artists must take a side and recognize the fact that the people have rejected the entire system. They should call on the middle strata and overcome the divisions between the middle strata and the lower strata, which was seen in the long queues in the voting centres of northern Tehran (wealthier neighbourhoods )and the empty voting centres in southern Tehran (poor neighbourhoods). It is the people’s demand that the intellectuals and the artists come forward and support the people’s movement threatening the government.

The continuation of this movement depends on its development into a movement for a real revolution

There is no doubt that the insurgent movement will have lots of ups and downs. These ups and downs are caused by deceptions and political games from different factions and figures in the regime, the repressive plans of the Ministry of Intelligence, the Judiciary Ministry, the army and the Revolutionary Guards and Basij forces, as well as by the lack of a coherent strategy and leadership in the movement itself.

Our Party will regularly expose these tricks and plans, and its activists will work with all their strength to expand the Party’s core groups on the basis of raising awareness among masses about the new socialist republic as the only alternative to the Islamic Republic, so as to build a firm backbone for transforming today’s movement into a movement for revolution.

The development of the women’s revolutionary movement has a decisive influence on the quality of this mass movement and its continuity. Unlike 2009, in the current movement women are not yet on the front lines. We must quickly organize women’s forces in every neighbourhood and workplace and turn the demand for freedom and equality for women as well as the struggle against the forced hijab into a demand of the movement as a whole. And in unity with the student and worker movement, the male-dominated atmosphere and thinking and behaviour of this movement must change. It is now time for a new student movement to defend the people’s insurgent movement and its demands for the separation of religion and state and the dismantling of the mullahs’ rule, to open the university doors to gatherings of the people, and to stop the entry of intelligence ministry spies and dismiss the security forces of the universities. The student movement should serve the masses’ urgent need to debate and discuss what kind of state and society they should build. The student movement should play an active role in bringing to the fore the slogan, “no society can be free without women’s liberation”.

The student movement in every city and province should point out the top representatives of the system, such as those directly selected by Khamenei and the commanders of the repression, and make them the target of the masses’ attacks: for example, in Khorasan province [the largest province in Iran, with long borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan] in solidarity with the people’s struggle to expel Alamolhoda (Khamenei’s representative in the province) and Reisi [the conservatives’ unsuccessful presidential candidate], form a committee of students, workers, and representatives of the slum-dwellers of Mashhad to transfer the administration of the huge wealth of Astan Quds Razavi’s foundation1 to the people. In all of these activities, Party activists must mainly expose the common roots of all oppression and injustice and show the people the real road to emancipation, and strongly and convincingly win over many fighters to the cause of the communist revolution and organize them under the leadership of our Party.

Experience has shown that the enemy will not remain rattled for long. As a result, we must capture the moment, spread awareness, and develop our revolutionary experience and skills in mobilizing people in order to organize their forces—led by the Party―in a movement for revolution. Organizing a secret backbone for this movement is a crucial task that can guarantee the continuation of the movement in conditions of oppression and ebb. People should know that there is a long, hard fight ahead of us. This road will not be traversed only through street protests.

A strategic approach to today’s mass uprising

What can convert today’s movement into a movement for revolution is primarily its political content as concentrated in the slogans. A slogan can push people’s minds in a negative direction in opposition to the battle for a just and decent human society, or in a positive direction reinforcing this struggle. It is necessary that large changes take place in the thinking and values of those involved in these struggles so that this movement can find the strength and quality to continue resisting a strong enemy. A major section of those involved in today’s fight with the Islamic Republic regime must deeply understand the alternative content of the new socialist republic and want to fight for it. The formation of such a force, even small, will greatly affect the character of the movement. Two key documents serving this struggle will be published soon by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM): “The manifesto and the revolutionary programme for the communist revolution” and “The character and function of the new state: The new socialist republic in Iran”. Awareness of the principles of a society that we, the Communists, are fighting for and of the structures, laws, and functions of the new socialist state in Iran can serve not only to win over some people to the communist revolution but also to bring in a wider number of allies and followers to the path of liberation. Because they will be able to see and understand the emancipatory character of our alternatives, and they will be able to compare it with the existing situation.

But simply desiring such a community is not equal to getting it. To reach the new society, we need a roadmap and leadership. In Iran, our Party has taken the responsibility for leadership. The backbone of our roadmap for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic is the science of communism—the new and evolved science of communism. Communism was founded by Marx and Engels and developed by Lenin and Mao Zedong in the course of the great socialist revolutions of the twentieth century. After the painful defeat of these revolutions, the necessity to develop this science was met by the greatest Marxist of our era, Bob Avakian, who is the leader of the communist revolution and its party in the US. What enabled us to develop the Manifesto and the Programme for the communist revolution in Iran and the Constitution of a new socialist state of Iran was understanding and applying this science of emancipation.

All our Party’s parties groups and cores, as well as all its committed supporters, should, in the context of this statement’s line and guidance, be actively involved with local initiatives in the current uprising and lead it towards a revolutionary direction. Independent and innovative announcements and slogans are needed to respond quickly to any situation that is arising. All the Party’s members and supporters must keep in mind that every struggle we wage today should serve the purpose of establishing the new socialist state in Iran and the emancipation of all humanity around the world.

The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist Maoist)
2 January 2018
You can find the full document in Persian here: (www.cpimlm.com)


1. This is a foundation in Mashhad, Iran with a religious cover. It is the administrative organization that manages the Imam Reza shrine and various institutions that belong to the organization, and through years of thievery and corruption it has managed to accumulate astronomical wealth. [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/525/awtwns-trump-on-the-revolt-in-iran-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

Trump on the revolt in Iran: Imperialist hypocrisy and sinister “support”

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A World to Win News Service, January 5, 2019. “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever,” U.S. President Donald Trump bellowed on Twitter as he called for “change” in Iran. Trump’s representative to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, went on to add: “And let there be no doubt whatsoever, the United States stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation.”

The fact is that this monster and his regime, who banned ordinary Iranians from entering the U.S., seek to justify economic sanctions that would punish ordinary Iranians to force them to accept a government more to the U.S.’s liking. The “change” Trump wants is like what the U.S. brought to Iran in 1953, when, along with Britain, the CIA organized a coup against the secular, nationalist government headed by Mohammad Mosaddegh, and replaced it with the direct rule of a monarch. Shah Reza Pahlavi’s regime was a main pillar for U.S. domination of the Middle East for decades. Moreover, its brutality and the subordination of Iran’s economy to the West created the conditions that allowed the Islamists to seize power in 1979. Trump may hope that Americans know nothing of this, but Iranians haven’t forgotten.

 

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

 

 


 

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Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

The FBI Is a Ruling Class Cabal of Spies, Provocateurs and Executioners...
Now Trump’s Trying to Make It His Gestapo

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump and his allies in Congress and the media have launched a coordinated, escalating assault on the Federal Bureau of Investigation—the FBI. And they’re also targeting special counsel and former FBI head Robert Mueller. Mueller is investigating possible Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump and his campaign colluded with it.

Over the holidays, Trump went after deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, claiming he was politically biased and helping to conduct a partisan witch hunt against him while letting Hillary Clinton slide. He bellowed that the agency’s reputation is in “tatters,” and has called for a house cleaning of top FBI leadership. He denounced charges of collusion with Russia as a hoax and declared: “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department” (which oversees the FBI).

The FBI: Bastion of Truth, Law & Justice... or Ruling Class Agency of Spying, Repression, and Murder?

In the face of these assaults, the FBI’s liberal (and right-wing) defenders portray the agency as a bastion of the rule of law, justice, and honesty against the Trump/Pence regime’s lawlessness and lies. And this is how the FBI has been portrayed through the years by countless bourgeois politicians and in the media.

But what does the FBI’s actual record show? That from the day it was founded in 1908 right up to today, the FBI has been this system’s political police!

This is the organization (originally called the Bureau of Investigation) that in 1918 rounded up some 50,000 people suspected of evading the World War 1 draft. That arrested 10,000 for allegedly being communists or anarchists in the Palmer Raids of the 1920s. The organization that carried out a massive anti-communist witch hunt and smear campaign in the 1950s.

COINTELPRO—Covert Operations, Dirty Tricks, Outright Executions

This is an organization that set up a covert program—COINTELPRO—to target, infiltrate, spy on, and disrupt civil rights activists, antiwar protesters, radicals, and revolutionaries. Under this program, the FBI orchestrated a smear campaign against Martin Luther King Jr. and tried to drive him to suicide. It did drive the actress Jean Seberg to suicide because she dared support civil rights and Black liberation struggles.

Under COINTELPRO the FBI helped the Chicago police set up and carry out the cold-blooded execution of the revolutionary Black Panther leader Fred Hampton on December 4, 1969. The FBI had planted informants in the Chicago Black Panther chapter, and one of them had become Hampton’s bodyguard. He gave the FBI and the Chicago pigs floor plans of Hampton’s apartment, and then drugged him the evening the execution was set to go down.

Author Peter Matthiessen documents the scores of murders of American Indian Movement (AIM) members provoked by FBI dirty tricks, spreading rumors, and pitting people against each other, and its framing of political prisoner Leonard Peltier. (This was in retaliation for the AIM's powerful 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and the deaths of two agents there.) And the list of low-life, double-deal shit goes on, and on.

Robert Mueller and James Comey:
Carrying Out Bush’s Post-9/11 Fascistic Expansion of Spying, Torture & War

What about Mueller, who headed the FBI from September 4, 2001 until September 4, 2013? And what about his successor James Comey, who was fired by Trump earlier this year? Both are being portrayed by the Democrats and the mainstream media as stellar public servants, beyond reproach.

Mueller, with Comey at his side, helped preside over and implement the George W. Bush regime’s massive, fascistic leap in surveillance, spying, torture, and repression following 9/11 under the Patriot Act and other draconian measures, and helped enable the “intelligence”—i.e., lies—used to sell the criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq which has devastated literally millions of lives.

In a damning account, former FBI agent turned whistleblower Coleen Rowley details that among other things:

Mueller knew, for instance, that Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims connecting 9/11 to Iraq were bogus yet he remained quiet.... In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the “post 9/11 round-up“ of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes.... [T]he FBI overstepped the law improperly serving hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating “terrorism.”... Comey signed off on a number of highly illegal programs including warrantless surveillance of Americans and torture of captives. Comey also defended the Bush Administration’s three-year-long detention of an American citizen without charges or right to counsel.

Comey has been hailed for rushing to the hospital bedside of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004. There, with Mueller’s backing, he convinced Ashcroft not to extend a program giving the Bush regime extraordinary powers under a “state of emergency.” But Rowley exposes this as a sham:

The mythology of this episode, repeated endlessly throughout the press, is that Comey and Mueller did something significant and lasting in that hospital room. They didn’t. Only the legal rationale for their unconstitutional actions was tweaked.

Mueller was even okay with the CIA conducting torture programs after his own agents warned against participation. Agents were simply instructed not to document such torture, and any “war crimes files” were made to disappear. Not only did “collect it all” surveillance and torture programs continue, but Mueller’s (and then Comey’s) FBI later worked to prosecute NSA and CIA whistleblowers who revealed these illegalities.

Under Mueller, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with state police, worked to criminalize and disrupt political protest—in one notorious instance, infiltrating and carrying out preemptive raids and arrests of activists and independent journalists throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul (the Twin Cities) before the 2008 Republican National Convention. It also targeted Muslims, carrying out widespread spying in mosques and infiltrating Muslim communities.

Comey Targets the Righteous Ferguson Uprising

As for Comey, after he’d become head of the FBI, how did he respond to the righteous uprising against wanton police murder sparked off in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014 and spread across the U.S.? Comey warned of a “Ferguson effect.” He wasn’t talking about how police across the U.S. were murdering young Black men just like Darren Wilson had murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson. He was condemning people videotaping and protesting against police! Comey claimed this increased crime by “making the police think twice.” This was justification for the pigs continuing their aggressive, brutal policing of the ghetto with full impunity.

To this day, the FBI is STILL using informers, entrapment, and all kinds of fuckery against ecological groups, Muslims, protest groups at the major political conventions, etc. And who knows what other police state moves are going on that haven’t yet come to light—including against radical and revolutionary groups of all kinds.

Trump’s Problem with the FBI? It’s Not Yet the Regime’s Gestapo

Trump and his regime aren’t attacking the FBI for this ugly history of spying, dirty tricks, smear campaigns, and violence against opponents and critics of this system. They’re not slamming its role as one of the rulers’ key tools of suppression and control. And they’re not going after the FBI simply to discredit Mueller’s investigation and create a justification for firing him if the Trump/Pence regime deems that becomes necessary.

They’re attempting to turn the FBI into the regime’s Gestapo—wholly beholden to the Trump/Pence executive branch and its fascist core, one where Trump will have the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” As we wrote in “The Firing of James Comey: The Dangers, the Openings, the Need to Act“:

In firing Comey, Trump is not simply seeking to block investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election in favor of Trump, along with possible collusion by people close to Trump. He is flouting and shredding norms established in the wake of the 1972-1973 Watergate scandal and resignation of then-President Richard Nixon—who had fired a special prosecutor investigating criminal activity on the part of the Nixon election campaign, including a subsequent cover-up.

More ominously, Trump is seeking to bring a key element of the repressive apparatus of the state, the FBI, under the air-tight control and deployment of the regime. To remove the slightest independence the FBI might have and to be able to wield the FBI to target, harass, and suppress any and all enemies of the regime’s designation. This is part of the direction and momentum of fascism. The FBI is no friend—it is a monstrous enemy—of the people. But Trump’s maneuver poses real dangers to the people. (See the sidebar featuring an excerpt from Bob Avakian on why the imposition of a fascist program on society requires going after and replacing the norms and institutions of bourgeois democracy, especially those that pose obstacles, like the press, the judiciary, and other sections of the ruling class.)

A Trump purge of the FBI, firing Mueller or shutting down his investigation could represent another, very dangerous leap toward full-out fascism. Some of its targets may be members of the ruling establishment—leading Democrats, liberal-leaning institutions, prominent figures. But the sharp edge of fascist repression will also be turned up against the masses of people and their organizations. Both are part of attempting to stomp out opposition and lock down society. (See, “‘It can’t happen here’? Sorry—It IS Happening Here. In One Year, the Trump/Pence Regime Has Made Huge Leaps in Forging the Repressive Machinery of a Fully Fascist Society.”)

Sharpening Divisions at the Top, Potential for Upheaval From Below

Mueller’s investigation and Trump’s attacks on it and the FBI represent a sharp battle within the ranks of the U.S. ruling class. This isn’t a battle for truth and justice. This is a battle among oppressors over how to cohere and rule U.S. society, how to maintain their system’s legitimacy, and how to advance the interests of U.S. capitalism-imperialism.

The escalation of Trump’s assaults has sparked broad anger and concern. The Democrats are trying to resolve this crisis in ways that strengthen their system, and that keep the outrage and actions of the people within its channels. This is tied in with focusing people’s anger against Trump around his alleged Russian connections and his supposed “lack of patriotism.” This keeps things within a framework of ultimately defending, rather than questioning and even resisting, the imperialist system that brought forward the Trump/Pence fascist regime. So the Democrats are demanding the Mueller investigation continue, directing people’s hopes and energies toward the 2018 elections, and remaining largely silent about Trump’s attacks on the FBI.

As we wrote earlier this year:

Even though these are largely the terms of opposition right now, there is the turmoil at the top... there is the flux at the bottom of society... and there is no saying what potentially could come out of this situation if people do what is actually needed.

What is needed: As the Call to Action of Refuse Fascism states, to “ORGANIZE: working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate—Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power. This is what is needed, nothing less.”

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

American Crime

Case #48: Destroying Indonesia's Rainforests for Palm Oil

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

The Crime: In Indonesia, Malaysia, and other South Asian areas, giant multi-national agribusinesses and food corporations from the United States and other countries are driving a ruthless process of seizing ancient, precious, and irreplaceable tropical rainforest land. Indigenous peoples living there are driven out and their communities are destroyed. Beautiful forests are clear cut and burned, destroying their rich ecology and beautiful and abundant animal and plant life.

This significantly accelerates the global environmental crisis threatening the entire planet by unleashing gigantic quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases while destroying forests that absorb CO2. All this is being done to profit from the production of palm oil for the global market.

Palm oil is produced from the fruit of a palm tree that thrives in tropical climates like those found in the rainforests of South Asia. It’s valued for its versatility, shelf life, nutrition, and other qualities. Easier to extract than other vegetable oils, palm oil is also cheaper to produce. For one thing, it comes from a perennial (long-lived) tree rather than an annual plant, like soy or rapeseed, which lives for only one growing season. But cheapness and high profitability depend on cheap land for extensive plantations and on cheap labor. Plundering the land and the people of the land are essential elements of the palm oil story, and are key to its use in a broad variety of products from cosmetics, soaps, laundry detergent, toothpaste, ice cream, baked goods, chocolate, to bio fuels. Palm oil can be found in half the products on grocery store shelves in the United States. Global consumption of palm oil has gone up fivefold since 1990 and continues to grow.

With giant global capitalist agribusinesses driving production and use, farmers have cleared huge swaths of the world’s rich tropical rainforests to make room for massive palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour in Indonesia, Malaysia, and other equatorial countries to make way for palm oil production. Indonesia is said to have lost 840,000 hectares (3,250 square miles) of forest in 2012 alone. Palm oil production is the leading reason why as much as 50 percent of the world’s rainforests have disappeared in recent years.

The loss of the rainforests causes widespread habitat degradation and the massive loss of biodiversity. It is estimated that ten hectares of lowland rainforest hold as many tree species as the whole of North America, while single crop or monoculture palm oil plantations sustain only one tree species, the African oil palm. Only 10 percent of the mammals normally found in a primary rainforest ever enter oil palm plantations.

The clearing of rainforests has led to the cruel destruction of millions of animals, posing a threat to entire ecosystems. For example, Indonesia’s endangered orangutan population, which depends upon the rainforest, has dwindled by as much as 50 percent in recent years. If nothing changes, the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next five to 10 years. The orangutan plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the rainforest ecosystem. Many rainforest seeds in Indonesia can only germinate after passing through the gut of an orangutan, so this primate is essential for the existence, and regeneration, of the forest.

There are 300,000 different animals in the jungles of the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Many are injured, killed, or displaced during deforestation. This includes species like the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, sun bear, pygmy elephant, clouded leopard, and proboscis monkey, among others.

The destruction of indigenous communities living in the rainforests of Indonesia and other countries is a pre-condition for the profitability and success of the palm oil industry. In Indonesia, indigenous communities that survived and thrived for thousands of years in the rain forests have been driven out to make way for small farmers. Beginning in the 1980s, land reforms required small farmers to surrender half of their land to commercial oil palm developers in return for smaller five- to eight-acre allotments.

Indonesian palm oil plantations are thousands of acres in size, with some over 100,000 hectares (240,000 acres.) These giant capitalist operations generally provide government-subsidized loans to smaller farmers to cover seedlings, fertilizer, and other supplies. But this only serves to make these farmers dependent on palm oil production and sale, making them little more than small cogs in a global capitalist production process dominated by multinational agribusiness and food corporations which process, ship, and market the oil. Oil palm trees take about seven years to bear fruit. In the meantime, smallholders are employed as low-wage day laborers. When the palms do produce fruit and oil, these small farmers are at the mercy of fluctuating palm oil market prices for survival.

In some cases indigenous communities are directly devastated by giant U.S. multinationals. PT Harapan Sawit Lestari (locally known as simply HSL) is an oil palm plantation owned and operated by the U.S. multinational Cargill. Rainforest Action Network reports:

HSL is one of the older palm plantations in Borneo; it was carved out of primary rainforest 17 years ago, in 1993. It’s long, controversial history is representative of thousands of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, where rainforests of extraordinary biodiversity have been destroyed to make way for oil palm, while local people have been forced to give up their community forests and agricultural lands.... When the rainforest was destroyed at HSL, the watershed that provided clean water to the Indigenous Dayak who inhabit the region was also destroyed. Behind Pak Gladu’s wood-slat home, he points to a muddy trickle of water that he says was once clear and fast-flowing. “Our river is destroyed. The oil palm trees drink a lot. And the palm oil factory drinks even more,” Pak Gladu explained. With no other water source, Pak Gladu and his 12 sons, daughters, and grandchildren had no choice but to continue using the water. “One time after bathing I broke out in a horrible rash. I went to the hospital for many days. It was HSL’s palm oil mill, it is only 500 meters away, that caused this. I went to HSL’s office to demand they pay for my treatment. But they just sat silent.”

When rainforests are destroyed, the livelihoods of indigenous peoples are destroyed, and they are forced to become wage slaves for the palm plantations, or cast off altogether. Other abuses, such as child labor, are rampant in remote plantation areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. Children are made to carry large loads of heavy fruit, weed fields, and spend hours every day bent over collecting fruit from the plantation floor. Heat exhaustion, and cuts, and bruises from climbing thorny oil palms are commonplace. More often than not, children receive little or no pay for their efforts.

The destruction of rainforests to make way for monoculture palm oil trees has other devastating consequences. In 1997 and1998, for example, forest fires raged across Indonesia for months sending smoky haze across the region. More than 100 oil palm companies are accused of setting fires to clear land, blur boundaries, and expand the plantations under their control. In Indonesia, more than 10,000 square miles of rainforests have been torched releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. Fires in 2015 alone added more than two billion tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Fires set to clear forests in peat-heavy areas (swampy layers of partially decayed vegetation up to 60 feet deep beneath most of the forests) can smolder for months or even years. The degradation of forests and areas heavy in peat account for over 60 percent of carbon emissions in Indonesia, which is the third worst greenhouse gas emitter on the planet. Indonesia’s peat lands cover less than 0.1 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but are responsible for four percent of yearly global emissions. Ten million of Indonesia’s 22.5 million hectares of peat land have already been deforested and drained.

Wastewater ponds at palm oil refineries release lots of methane, a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. All told, tropical deforestation, much of it tied to palm oil production, accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions—accelerating the global climate crisis.

The frenetic chase for maximum returns drives the large-scale capitalist production of palm oil, a highly profitable food product, leaving a wide path of destruction in its wake and threatening the future existence of humanity itself.

The Criminals

U.S. agribusiness monopolies including Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill (as well as monopoly capitalist conglomerates from other countries) are major producers and suppliers of palm oil. The largest importer of palm oil into the U.S., Cargill both owns and operates palm oil plantations in Indonesia and purchases and trades palm oil and its derivatives worldwide. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) purchases palm oil from mills supplied by plantations where Amnesty International documented severe labor rights abuses.

Subway, MacDonald’s, Yum!, Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Burger King, and other U.S. fast food companies (as well as major packaged food, cosmetics, and other corporations) routinely use palm oil without regard to the damage to the environment, indigenous communities, and the workers who depend on the industry for a livelihood. In March 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a scorecard grading U.S. fast food companies that use palm oil in their products. Of 10 fast food companies examined on a 100-point score on deforestation, supply chain transparency, and supply chain traceability, only two—Subway and MacDonald’s—were able get any points. And even those two were on the lower end of the 100-point scale. Yum! Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, and Burger King all received 0 out of 100 points.

PepsiCo, Campbell Foods, Kraft, Heinz, and other well-known brands are large purchasers of palm oil from companies like Wilmar, notorious for worker and environmental abuses. PepsiCo uses 450,000 metric tons of palm oil annually in products like Quaker health bars, Frito Lay chips, and cookies.

The Indonesian government. Indonesia is a country dominated by imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism, and the actions of Indonesia’s government reflect this relationship. It routinely grants concessions to U.S. and other global multinationals for oil palm development in forested areas, leading to widespread deforestation in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The Indonesian government issues land leases on favorable terms to an elite, influential pool of big capitalists such as Indonesia’s powerful and globally connected Widjaja family empire, which has been an ongoing target of heavy criticism from green groups for contributing to mass deforestation and the endangerment of wildlife.

The Alibi

In June 2014, five large palm oil producers, including Cargill, issued a Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM) in which they claim to be applying Earth- and people-friendly practices to the production of palm oil. This follows on other initiatives from palm oil producers, such as RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil), through which they claim to produce “certified sustainable palm oil” to “minimize the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on the environment and communities in palm oil-producing regions.”

The Real Motive

These manifestos from the capitalist-imperialist agribusiness and food conglomerates that produce and use palm oil are a sham. Greenpeace International has denounced RSPO as “little more than greenwash,” pointing out that various RSPO certified producers carry out destructive and rapid deforestation practices. An Amnesty International investigation revealed that the RSPO acts as a shield to deflect scrutiny of oppressive and destructive production practices.

Palm oil production, like the production of every other capitalist commodity, is governed by the rules of capitalism. They dictate that the pursuit of profit, in competition with other capitalists, is the most essential and sacred goal of production. In a world dominated by imperialist, capital-rich industrialized countries turn the less powerful and less “advanced” countries and regions into sources of cheap, but essential, resources utilizing their financial, political, and military power to ensure favorable conditions for such investments. It is this relationship that makes the production of things vital to humans, such as food, a source of misery and worse for much of humanity. The U.S., as one of the world’s major imperialist players is neck deep in this dead-end (and deadly) form of economic practice

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/then-they-came-for-the-daca-youth-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Then They Came for the DACA Youth...

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A tremendous injustice is brewing. On March 5, close to 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” could lose their protected status and begin facing the danger of being kicked out of the place where they grew up, separated from their families and friends, forced to end their education, and sent to countries they barely know, if they know them at all.

Dreamers 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)—a program started by Obama in 2012. But on September 5, the Trump/Pence regime killed DACA. Since then, 14,000 Dreamers are already facing deportation—120 more each day—because they could not renew their two-year work permits granted under DACA. Trump has given Congress until March 5 to replace DACA. That date is fast approaching.

These young Dreamers and their supporters began taking to the streets as soon as it was rumored that Trump was about to make his announcement. Since that time they have been boldly and courageously organizing and protesting despite their undocumented status. Thousands have risked arrest and deportation, and many have been arrested for blocking streets, taking over the halls of Congress in DC, and holding sit-ins at Congressional offices. Just before Christmas, seven defiant Dreamers and another activist—arrested for engaging in civil disobedience outside the offices of top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer, and a Republican congressman—were released from jail after a courageous six-day hunger strike.

The Dreamers and their supporters have taken the principled stand of demanding that Congress pass a clean Dream Act—a law that would give them legal status and a path to citizenship—without being used as a “bargaining chip” at the expense of other immigrants.

Trump and the Republi-fascists in Congress are refusing to pass any continuation of DACA except as part of a bill that would include $18 billion for a 2,000-mile border wall and billions more for increased “border security”; making conditions facing asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors even more torturous; canceling the “visa lottery”; and cutting off the ability of documented immigrants and naturalized citizens to sponsor relatives—called “chain migration” by these racists.

The Dreamers are demanding that the Democrats not accept further attacks on immigrants and “justify” this in the name of reaching a deal with Trump for some form of continuation of DACA. Right after Trump ended DACA, he held a widely publicized meeting with the top Democrats—Pelosi and Schumer—and announced afterwards that such a deal was in the works. And there is a bipartisan group of senators working behind the scenes to hatch some kind of deal. In the face of this, the movement for the clean Dream Act has made it clear that they are fighting for all undocumented immigrants to be able to stay.

Killing DACA was a vicious crime against these young Dreamers and their families. But it was also a message to undocumented immigrants everywhere, and ultimately all immigrants—that they are unwelcome and don’t belong in Trump/Pence fascist America. In doing this, the Trump/Pence fascists are strengthening the overt white supremacy that is one cornerstone of their regime, which, along with patriarchal domination of women and “America First” belligerence, form the triad on which fascism in America is rallying its base of support and consolidating its rule. This cannot be allowed to continue. The fight to stop the Trump/Pence fascist regime from ending DACA and carrying out their whole anti-immigrant program is, and must be, linked to the fight to drive this whole regime from power.

The deadline for a new DACA bill to be passed into law is less than two months away. There is an urgent need, beginning now, for people everywhere to see that this is our fight, and to take up active support alongside these courageous young fighters. In the high schools and colleges, among students and faculty; among people of faith; among lawyers, doctors, and other professionals; among artists and more—mobilize your organizations and networks to refuse to “wait to see what the Democrats do” and to take action. VOTE IN THE STREETS WITH YOUR FEET.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/bronx-fire-kills-13-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Bronx Fire Kills 13:
Death at the Hands of a Heartless System

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On the night of December 28, a fire raged through a building in the Belmont section of the Bronx, New York City. It quickly turned a century-old brick apartment building into an inferno of death. As of this writing, 13 people have died from this fire. Four of them were children. Three other people are hospitalized in critical condition.

The victims include Maria Batiz, who had lived in the building for 25 years. Her brother Fernando described her as his “caretaker.” He said, “She took me off the street. I don’t know what to think. I just saw a picture of her on Facebook and lost it.” Emmanuel Mensah, a young immigrant from Ghana, went into the building five times to pull people out of the burning building. His uncle said, “He brought four people out. When he went to bring a fifth person out the fire caught up with him.”

Ambrozia Stewart emigrated from Jamaica in the late 1980s. Four members of her family died in the blaze―her youngest daughter and three granddaughters. “I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know how to feel. I need somebody to tell me what to feel. Where do I go from here? Four at one time. What do I do?”

Several people passing by also acted heroically to save the lives of those trapped in the fire. 23-year-old Angelo Villanueva first gave CPR to a young girl gasping on the sidewalk. Then he tried to get in the building but couldn’t get through the billowing smoke. He yelled to people to give him a boost to a fire escape so he could pull it down. He “unhooked the ladder, and started helping people down, children first.” 26-year-old Kareem Turner, in a neighboring building saw Angelo on the fire escape. He leapt over a fence and began hoisting people over it to safety, away from the raging flames. “The fire was following us. If I had not seen them and helped them they would have perished for a fact.”

A man from Nigeria told us how quickly the fire spread. “I came home that evening and lay down. I wanted to sleep for two hours because I have to work at night. I was asleep and something... the smell woke me up. I checked everywhere and there was nothing in my room so I checked the kitchen. It was OK, so I went back to the bed and lay down again. But I could still smell the odor, so I said, ‘let me go to the hallway to see what was happening.’ I opened the door and the smoke was already coming into my apartment. I couldn’t even see the door across the hall. I couldn’t get out, so I closed the door and slipped on my pants, the ones I have on now, and tried to find the key for my window which has a lock on it. I found the key, opened the window and got out. I grabbed my cell phone and came out on the fire escape. There were other people on the fire escape waiting for the ladder from the firefighters. There was huge smoke on one side of the fire escape so I went to the other side and got down.”

“A Horrible, Tragic Accident”?

The authorities say that a three-year-old boy fiddling with stove knobs in the kitchen started the fire. They say it quickly spread throughout the five-story building because the stairwell “acted like a chimney” and worsened because tenants opened their apartment doors and fed it oxygen.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said, “It seems like a horrible, tragic accident” and that “nothing problematic about the building ... contributed to this tragedy.” Fire commissioner Daniel A. Nigro admonished people to “close the door, close the door, close the door.” The New York Times summed up that “The disaster was fed not by structural defects or firefighting mishaps, officials said, but by an unholy mix of circumstance.”

This is bullshit. New York authorities are trying to treat this as a case they have already figured out and absolve the city of any blame. Even more contemptible—de Blasio and the others are trying to blame the people—even a three-year-old toddler—for crimes of their system that resulted in the loss of 13 lives!

2363 Prospect was built in 1916. The neighborhood around it has a large number of people from Caribbean and African countries. People who lived in this building came from Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Guinea, and Jamaica. It had never been fireproofed. A city ordinance that requires all buildings with three or more units to have self-closing doors was not enforced at this building. Fire traps like the one in the Bronx exist throughout the city.  The Associated Press reported that the city “cited landlords over 7,752 times in the last year for violations of the self-closing-door requirement.”

When the fire department arrived on the scene minutes after the fire was reported they were unable to tap into the local hydrant because it was frozen shut in the near zero-degree temperature. The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) hadn’t seen fit to maintain the valves to keep it from freezing up! Valuable time was wasted as the firefighters had to drag their hoses down the block and around the street to find a hydrant they could use.

Daniel Nigro also said the frozen hydrant “didn’t slow activity.” A spokesman for the FDNY dismissed the loss of time as merely “momentary.” But an expert in fire security and management from John Jay College said that “Time is of the essence in a fire. We’re talking about minutes here, not an hour. A frozen hydrant can really mess things up.” And a 32-year veteran of the FDNY described arriving on the scene and finding a frozen hydrant, a building in flames, and three victims already lying in the entrance hall. He helped pull the people out of the hall and called ambulances for them, but he said, “Now we have multiple victims and we don’t have water.”

Prospect Avenue and the streets around it are not one of the more devastated and impoverished sections of the Bronx. The street is tidy and there are several relatively new buildings on Prospect. Neighbors told reporters that people on that street look out for each other, and one woman said moving there changed the notions she had of what the Bronx is like.

2363 Prospect had, according to the Times, six open violations of the NYC fire code. It was described by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development as having a “relatively low history of repair violations.” Think of this. A building that in a few minutes, on a night of record cold, turns into an inescapable inferno that kills a dozen people, is regarded as being not particularly dangerous by city officials! What does this say of the thousands of other buildings throughout the city? What does it tell you about what these authorities think about the millions of immigrants, of Black and Brown people who fill endless blocks with buildings in worse shape than this one?

A man who grew up in the neighborhood told us of what he called a “Never ending story around here. The landlords get the violations in the mail, and nine times out of ten, the inspectors know the landlords, know the supers, and what happens is they (the landlords) have the super tell the inspector we’re working on it, and the inspectors have such a huge case load that they don’t bother to check. And then another inspector finds the same violation because they have to be checked every so often, and it’s never ending.”

He also said that the building at 2363 had been worked on to cram “as many apartments as they could in that building, on each floor to save space. This is what they do in the Bronx. They take a structure, and they try to fit as many people as they can in it. The apartments are very small. This is a tragedy. You didn’t see smoke detectors on every floor in that building.”

The deaths there were the result of the criminal workings of a system that has contempt for immigrants and other oppressed people. It drives them from their homelands. It packs them into ancient and un-maintained buildings in its inner cities. City authorities routinely ignore violations of their own building, safety, and fire codes supposedly intended to provide some defense against fires and other health and life hazards. Large and small capitalist landlords profit by cutting corners on building maintenance, or ignoring it altogether.

Now 13 people from Prospect Avenue are dead. This is a story that must end.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/fascist-regime-ends-TPS-for-Salvadorans-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Fascist Regime Announces Plans to End Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans—These Attacks Must Be Stopped!

January 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 8, the Trump/Pence regime announced that it is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from El Salvador. If this decision stands, over 260,000 people will have until September 9, 2019, to leave the U.S. or find some way to get a green card, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump’s TPS decision will rip through the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and turn them upside down. There are about 200,000 children born in this country—and thus U.S. citizens—with Salvadoran parents who have TPS status. If TPS ends for them, these families will all be torn apart, one way or the other. A spokesman for Trump’s Department of Homeland Security responded with heartless indifference to the fate of these children and families: “We’re not getting involved in individual family decisions.”

What are those “family decisions”?  A woman in Los Angeles who has two children born in the U.S. told a reporter, “We had hope that if we worked hard, paid our taxes and didn’t get in trouble we would be allowed to stay.” She said she would risk arrest and deportation rather than return to El Salvador, and even though she will lose her job of 12 years without the work permit that comes with TPS, and without the medical insurance for herself and her daughters.

A 37-year-old man in Houston who has worked for over a decade in information technology said, “All my dreams and hopes ended today. My life and the life of my family will end." A 14-year-old girl in Southern California whose entire life has been in this country but whose mother now faces deportation said, “This is where I was born and am supposed to be raised.”

Making America White (and English Speaking)

TPS temporarily protects people from deportation, and enables them to obtain work permits. It is based on a determination that they are unable to return safely to their homelands because of natural disasters or armed conflicts. The Congressional Research Service describes TPS as providing a “safe haven for migrants who may not meet the legal definition of refugee or asylee but are nonetheless fleeing—or reluctant to return to—potentially dangerous situations.”

More Salvadorans have TPS than any other nationality. All these people arrived in the U.S. no later than February 13, 2001. They had fled a country torn by a civil war in which the U.S. supported and trained death squads and a military that killed about 75,000 people in the small country, and displaced one fifth of the population. Then, in 2001, two massive earthquakes left much of the already impoverished country in ruins.

Denial of TPS for Salvadorans follows the cancellation of TPS for 60,000 Haitians in November, with Honduran TPS holders possibly targeted next. This is the latest volley in Trump’s barrage of fascist, white supremacist attacks on immigrants intended to drive millions of people—mostly people who are not white, many of whom speak English as their second language—from this country.

Burning Down the House—Then Throwing the Victims Back in It

A Homeland Security statement said the decision to end TPS for Salvadorans was “[b]ased on careful consideration of available information.” Kirstjen Nielsen, its director, “determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist.” The government’s evidence and justification for its decision that El Salvador is safe to return to? The 39,000 people the U.S. deported there over the past two years, which it claims demonstrate “that the temporary inability of El Salvador to adequately return their nationals after the earthquake has been addressed.”

This is like setting a house on fire, shooting down some of the people who manage to escape, and gathering up others to throw them back in the burning building. For decades, El Salvador has been tormented by U.S. domination. Millions of people live in a hell of hunger, poverty, and death that has “Made in the U.S.A.” stamped all over it.

Shortly after the war in El Salvador ended, the U.S. began massive deportation of youths from Los Angeles to the country, many of whom were in gangs. The U.S. exported gang violence of desperate youths into the country’s war-scarred landscape. Now it is one of the most violent places on earth, and San Salvador, its capital, one of the most dangerous cities. El Salvador has the highest homicide rate for youth in the world. A quarter of its children live in extreme poverty. Jobs for anyone are scarce, and 40% of the country lives in what the World Bank describes as poverty. Money sent from the U.S. accounts for 17% of the economy.

Up to Us to Stop This

The endless attacks on immigrants, the enormous cruelty of a fascist regime that mocks and torments, arrests and deports, threatens and imprisons so many immigrants—all this must end. This fascist regime is carrying out all these Nazi like atrocities now, laying the groundwork for even more monstrous attacks, and the fight to stop this is urgent. It is a key element of their effort to consolidate fascism, and it must be a key element of the outlook and activity of millions of people to stop that from happening.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/hundreds-turn-out-to-honor-erica-garner-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Hundreds Turn Out to Honor Erica Garner, Tireless Fighter Against Police Murder

January 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hundreds filled the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem on Monday night to pay tribute to Erica Garner, who died on December 30 as the result of a heart attack. She was only 27 years old.

Erica was the daughter of Eric Garner who was murdered on Staten Island by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in July 2014, as he gasped 11 times, “I can’t breathe,” as the pig refused to ease his chokehold. Erica weathered the devastation of seeing her father so publicly and so cruelly murdered to become a tireless, implacable fighter for justice for her father and for stopping police murder.

At the funeral, people described her as a relentless, courageous “warrior” who protested twice a week every week on Staten Island demanding her father’s murderers be indicted—even after a Staten Island Grand Jury refused to bring charges. They spoke of how they’d been challenged and inspired by her example. “The rest of us now have to carry forward her legacy,” one minister said, and then to loud applause, “and any time someone’s killed by police, Erica will be whispering in our ear, ‘shut it down!’”

Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown, who was murdered by Ferguson, Missouri police in 2014, was in attendance, as were other families of victims of police killings. The actor and rapper Common said Erica’s passion “inspired me to go harder… She told me we’re going to keep fighting… and that’s what I’m telling everybody.”

Erica’s mother, Esaw Garner, said, “She was only 4 pounds 11 ounces [at birth] but she proved to be a giant in what she did in her life. As many times as I tried to deter her from going out there marching for her dad in the cold, by herself, whatever. And she’d say ‘mom, I‘m going to do it, and I don’t care if I go to jail…’ She refused to let anybody including myself tell her what to do. She might consider what you said but she was going to do what she wanted to do anyway… and I was proud of the woman she became… The day she shut down the Verrazano Bridge [connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn] I think was the biggest day because she did it by herself. Eight lanes of traffic, she ran back and forth across that bridge, laid down across that street and screamed, ‘I can’t breathe!’”

It wasn’t mentioned Monday night, but Erica wasn’t afraid to call out anyone who stood in the way of justice. After being barred from speaking at Obama’s 2016 townhall on police murder she tweeted: “Yo this town hall that presidential town hall #abc arranged is a farce. It was nothing short of full exploitation of Black pain and grief.” She also condemned Hillary Clinton’s campaign after its internal debates were revealed: “I’m troubled by the revelation that you and this campaign actually discussed ‘using’ Eric Garner … Why would you want to ‘use my dad?’”

Protest in Memory of Eric and Erica Garner—from Harlem to Staten Island

Following Erica Garner’s funeral, some 60-80 people gathered in remembrance of Erica Garner and her father and all victims of police murder and terror and in support of #BlackLivesMatter. The action was called by #PeoplesMonday, and NYC Shut It Down. People rallied at nearby 116th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard for a “mic check” speak out. The song, “I Can’t Breathe,” inspired by Eric Garner’s murder and popularized by actor Samuel L. Jackson, was a key refrain:

I can hear my neighbor crying “I can’t breathe”
Now I’m in the struggle and I can’t leave
Calling out the violence of the racist police
“We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free”

Afterward, many got on the subway and headed south. After a boisterous ride, in a subway car packed with chanting protesters, people got on the Staten Island ferry, and then marched through Staten Island to the site where Eric Garner was murdered and then to the police precinct where Eric Garner’s killer works.

Outrageously, to this day, the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to bring civil rights charges against Eric Garner’s murderers, and the NYPD refuses to act until the DOJ does. In the face of this, and all the screaming outrages being heaped on oppressed people under the Trump/Pence fascist regime, Erica Garner’s courage, defiance, and determination are needed more than ever.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/bob_avakian-on-winston-churchill-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

 

Winston Churchill—The Ugly Truth

by Bob Avakian

January 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Winston Churchill was a blatantly racist imperialist, who regarded the people colonized by Britain—in India, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere—as subhuman savages. He subjected millions of them to torture, mass slaughter and deliberate starvation. And Churchill is celebrated in the West as a great hero, by liberals as well as conservatives. Think about it...

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/protesters-at-college-national-football-championships-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Atlanta: Protesters at College National Football Championships Say "Trump and Pence Must Go!"

January 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a reader:

Monday night tens of thousands of football fans gathered to watch the College Football National Playoff Championship in Atlanta between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs. Just days before the game it was announced that Donald Trump would be attending the game. Citing a lyric from halftime performer Kendrick Lamar, the Atlanta chapter of Refuse Fascism issued a call: “Donald Trump Is a Chump. If You Agree, Come Take a Knee.” People of conscience assembled and—like the heroic football players who have refused to back down to Trump’s threats—took a knee in solidarity with those who have been targeted by the Trump/Pence regime.


Photo Courtesy of IG: LyndonEugene

 

Around 70 people of different ages and backgrounds joined the protest—from women’s marchers with pink pussy hats to students protesting for the first time. The protestors’ presence sharply polarized the football-enthused crowd. Protestors held the Refuse Fascism banner saying “Trump and Pence Must Go!” Others carried creative home-made signs and posters with #TrumpPenceMustGo and #TakeAKnee. The protestors chanted, “Trump is a fascist, there’s no doubt. Rise up! Rise up! Drive him out!” and at one point some youth started the chant “Fuck Trump! Fuck hate! America was never great!”

The chants and signs challenged the football fans to pick a side–either you’re down with a fascist nightmare or you stand with humanity. The atmosphere was tense amidst the thousands outside of the CNN building where the protest was held. Some yelled dumb shit like “Fuck you! Get a job” and other reactionary shit like “Go Trump!” and “Make America Great Again!”

However, there were many people who thanked the protesters (people around the country also sent thanks to the protesters via Facebook) and yelled things like “Go Dawgs! Fuck Trump!” and “Trump has got to go!” with fists and peace signs waving in the air. Some football fans joined the protest on the spot. Demonstrators took a knee as national media surrounded the demonstration, snapping pictures, filming and interviewing protestors. One Refuse Fascism organizer said, “It felt like being on the red carpet.” The protest marched outside CNN across the street from Centennial Olympic Park where Kendrick Lamar was scheduled to perform at halftime.

There were other bold acts of defiance and resistance that polarized the game. As Trump came onto the field during the National Anthem, he was met with both cheers and boos. The same was true when his motorcade passed by people waiting to enter the game. According to some reports, one Alabama player shouted “Fuck Trump” as he ran onto the field. Outside the stadium activists with Democratic Socialists of America projected a huge “FUCK TRUMP” onto stadium.

These acts of resistance made news around the country. It gave heart to the millions of people who hate what this regime is doing here and around the world. And it also spread the truth: The Trump/Pence Regime is fascist, and they must go!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/lemme-put-this-on-the-table-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Lemme put this on the table

By Sarah Roark, member of Bay Area Refuse Fascism steering commmittee
Hollering into the void with more than occasional smartassity.

Read more of Sarah’s writing at medium.com

January 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Democratic friends and loved ones. And I’m speaking to all of y’all, by the way. Berniecrats. Hillarycrats. Justice Dems. TYTers. Centrists.

I am so there for all your efforts toward 2018. I want, desperately, to see a #BlueWave. I will donate and volunteer and pimp it on social media and all the things. But I need you to be able to answer for me one very simple question.

Do you actually see that happening with our system of checks and balances in the current decaying state it’s in, and if so, how?

I make no claims to never ever winging it. And obviously there are multiple scenarios for success as well as failure. But if you’re going to argue with me that what I’m currently doing with Refuse Fascism has no plausible path to victory, you’re going to need to lay out for me your own plausible path and why it’s better.

Let’s start off with: I’ve been seeing an inherently unfavorable electoral map in 2018. Did that change when I wasn’t looking?

Monsieur StrawDem: But everybody hates what this Administration is doing so much that we can surely get blue voters to the polls in much greater numbers! Look at the Roy Moore election or [insert other special election here].

Of course ‘everybody’ hates what this Administration is doing. ‘Everybody’ has hated the dude since before his election. Often since WELL before his election. That did not prevent his coming to power, or his significant progress toward consolidating an antidemocratic system of rule; and there are reasons that happened that continue to be an obstacle. So you need to explain how we surmount those obstacles. ‘That mans is so bad that nobody will vote for him’ is a proven bullshit argument.

And suppose that we DO get a better blue turnout in 2018, which is perfectly possible. How much better does it have to be to overcome the safe red incumbent districts and states? The voter suppression? Gerrymandering? Russian interference? Possibly outright fraud? (I put nothing past Trumpists.)

I will also humbly submit that as deep-red a state as Alabama is, and as notable as it rightly is that a Democrat won a Senate seat there — under normal circumstances at least, defeating a credibly accused repeat child molester of any party shouldn’t be a high bar to clear.

Madame StrawDem: We are working very hard on gerrymandering and all that! Obama has a new organization! There’s lots of organizations!

Yes, there are. And remind me what the game plan for that involves? That is, I know it’s things like restoring the VRA and redrawing districts, especially before the next Census. I mean how do you achieve that, exactly?

Madame StrawDem: Well, you can bring court cases. But mainly you have to elect lots of Democrats, especially from underserved communities and demographics (or from my own, BETTER end of the Democrat political spectrum ;-) ) to state and local office. That way they’ll be there in state legislatures, in a position to directly affect redistricting work. And some of them will advance to Congress, which is the body that has to restore meaning to the VRA, or overturn Citizens United, or both!

You’re right. That is incredibly important work. I support it. Remind me when the next big opportunity to elect Dems in number is?

Monsieur StrawDem: Well, 2018 of course.

…………

…Okay. This is the same 2018 election that I just argued is a) mathematically unfavorable and b) deeply unlikely to be free or fair, and you didn’t dispute that idea?

And how long is it till then? How many further assaults on the integrity of our electoral process do you think Trump, Pence and the GOP will be able to commit in the meantime? To say nothing of any Russian interference?

Madame StrawDem: All right, smarty pants. We never said it was a foolproof plan, but yours is no better. Your turn to explain steps 2 and 3 of your underpants-gnome scheme.

Ours isn’t foolproof either for sure. There is no foolproof anymore. The last relatively easy way to stave off utter humanity-destroying disaster ended in November 2016. I worked for it. You worked for it. The game board was tilted, but for whatever combination of reasons, the upshot is we lost. We’re on a completely different battlefield now, with an enemy that has absolutely no respect for rules or norms or basic decency.

Look, if we have elections at all in 2018 and 2020, of course I want the Dems to be as prepared as possible. Or, failing that, for some anti-Trump/pro-humanity force or coalition to be as prepared as possible. So by all means, work on that! As I said, I’ll support however I can. And that doesn’t have to conflict with what I’m doing at all, by the way. Our goals are hardly mutually exclusive. But I would put it to you that the success of your effort does most likely depend on the prior success of my effort, or of some damn similar effort. And I’ll tend to why exactly I think that is in my next post.

Monsieur StrawDem: Ha. I doubt it. The only non-electoral path I see to getting either of them out of office is Mueller —

STAAAAAHP. Just stop right there.

You do realize that’s not non-electoral, right? Nixon was threatened with impeachment by a Democratic Congress. Now let’s review. To impeach, you need a majority of the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

Guess what we don’t have right now. Guess what is literally mathematically impossible to achieve in 2018. The Dems have 23 Senate seats. Add in the two Independents if you like, that gives us 25. Now suppose we won all eight Republican Senate seats that are up for the 2018 election. 25+8 = 33.

33 /= 67. Okay, so now we’re looking at 2020 at the earliest. After three more years of the Trump/Pence ethno/Christofascist government.

So now what?

NO, SERIOUSLY. NOW WHAT.

Are you waiting for the GOP to get over their abject moral collapse, their slavering terror and their guilty knowledge of complicity enough to come to the rescue?

NO, SERIOUSLY. ARE YOU?

Well. Stay tuned and we’ll get into more of that “now what.” I wouldn’t be bitching if I didn’t have a positive case to make, I promise! In the meantime, comments and feedback very welcome.

 

 


 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/awtwns-peru-a-criminal-pardon-for-murder-in-chief-fujimori-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

Free Gonzalo and all political prisoners!
Peru: a criminal pardon for murder-in-chief Fujimori

January 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A World to Win News Service, 8 January 2018. Ex-Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori has been pardoned after serving a decade of a 25-year sentence for corruption and murder—the massacres he personally ordered in a terror campaign against a revolutionary war aimed at liberating Peru from oppression. This decision produced widespread indignation and angry street protests. It not only brought more widespread hate on an already discredited government, but extended that discredit to the country’s so-called rule of law. What throws an even sharper light on the criminal injustice of this pardon is that Abimael Guzman (also known as Chairman Gonzalo), the head of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) who led that revolution, remains buried alive in a solitary cell after 25 years, condemned to die there even though a life sentence is not considered legal in Peru. The country continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, some still incarcerated even after having served their sentences.

This is a clear example of class justice, a system where what is deemed beneficial to the ruling class is considered just and the bloodiest crimes can be forgiven if they serve that rule, while revolt against that system can never be forgiven.

Fujimori was released by Peru’s current president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in a deal in which Fujimori supporters, in exchange, saved Kuczynski from impeachment for corruption. This is a standard situation in a country where all of the heads of government over the last 37 years have been formally charged with accepting bribes and bribing each other, with several others imprisoned or in exile. Corruption is the normal mode of functioning of the Peruvian state, on every level. These revolving jail house doors have nothing to do with any change in the system and everything to do with constant infighting among the rulers and their political representatives.

As for the massacres for which Fujimori was convicted, they are far from the only ones for which he, other presidents and the state they headed are responsible. When the Communist Party of Peru began to mobilize poor peasants and others in a revolt against the system that started in 1980 and grew into a people’s war supported by millions of people, the police and armed forces responded with one mass murder after another, indiscriminately killing fighters and ordinary people alike. State terrorists rounded up and killed several tens of thousands. Some have been found in clandestine mass graves. Others disappeared to this day. Hundreds of revolutionary prisoners who took part in a 1986 uprising in three prisons were killed, many executed in cold blood after they surrendered. Barrios Altos and La Cantuta are two crimes Fujimori was found guilty of directing personally, by courts that also ruled that the victims were not guilty of anything even by the standards of the reactionary Peruvian justice system.

In the Lima working class neighbourhood of Barrios Altos in 1991, a half-dozen intelligence officers burst into a backyard barbecue, forced everyone to lie down and emptied their silencer-equipped automatic weapons into them, killing 15 people, including an 8-year-old year old boy, and seriously wounding four others. The victims were said to be rebel sympathizers. Afterwards Fujimori attended a celebration with the murderers at the headquarters of his intelligence service.

La Cantuta University is a teachers’ training school, many of whose students come from poor areas. The authorities had long feared its defiant students and repeatedly sent in security forces to attack them. In 1992 members of the same death squad dragged nine students from the dormitories and a professor from the teacher’s quarters, executed them and then secretly buried their corpses.

In 2000, after the people’s war died down and the ruling class (and the U.S. it depends on) that had supported Fujimori for a decade decided to get rid of him, the media suddenly “discovered” his corruption and he was forced to flee the country. Later, when he attempted a come-back, he ended up being convicted of directing the two massacres.

But Fujimori’s atrocities were not what led to his downfall—as evidenced by the willingness to forgive him for them today. Two years after his election in 1990, in what was called a “self-coup”, he sent tanks to close down congress and used the army to settle the infighting among Peru’s ruling class that impeded efforts to put down the rebellion. The barbarous acts against the people for which he was later convicted were well-known at the time but widely accepted or passed over at the top of society and by the U.S. imperialists. Those running Peru later discarded him both because their own bitter rivalries continued and in an attempt to restore the legitimacy of a state that had openly soaked its hands in blood.

The PCP leader was captured in 1992 and given a life sentence in a brief, secret trial conducted by hooded military officers. While isolated in a military-controlled island prison, Gonzalo called for the people’s war to be ended through a negotiated settlement. Even though this call was condemned by most of the party outside prisons, which refused to accept that the call had come from Gonzalo himself, and even though Fujimori rejected it, nevertheless this was a major factor in the decline of the people’s war. Gonzalo’s capture and the subsequent defeat of the people’s war was considered Fujimori’s greatest achievement. Later, when Fujimori fell into disgrace, Gonzalo was retried and his sentence reaffirmed by a civilian court under Fujimori’s successor, who himself ended up fleeing the country to avoid prison.

Guzman is 83 and ill, according to a recent statement by his lawyer, who argued that if Fujimori can go free, supposedly for medical reasons, there is no legal reason why his client should remain incarcerated. Other alleged PCP leaders sentenced to 25 year terms alongside Gonzalo are facing new trials for wartime events occurring decades ago to ensure that they never leave prison.

Fujimori’s political heirs and rivals may forgive him, but millions of Peruvians feel otherwise. Even a half-dozen cabinet members and other government officials felt compelled to resign to avoid sharing President Kuczynski’s discredit.

On Christmas Eve, when Fujimori’s pardon was announced, thousands of people flooded the narrow streets of central Lima near the presidential palace. The police demonstrated the essence of the Peruvian state by criminalizing their protest, surrounding them and then forcing them to disperse. Another large demonstration took place two days later. Again on 4 January, on the eve of Fujimori’s release, angry protesters tried to march on the current president’s home, only to be met with volleys of tear gas and massed security forces. Many carried portraits of Fujimori’s victims or banners inscribed with their names. The marchers included parents and other relatives of those murdered under Fujimori’s mandate, and youth unable to accept the new injustice represented by his pardon, which amounts to an official statement that his crimes against the people are not crimes in the eyes of the law and the system.

 

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/525/ICE-raids-across-the-country-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

I.C.E. Raids Across the Country: Urgently Needed—Massive Opposition

January 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Wednesday, January 10, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents staged pre-dawn raids on about one hundred 7-Eleven stores in eighteen states and Washington D.C. According to several press reports, twenty-one people, all of them 7-Eleven employees, were arrested. They face “removal from the country”—deportation.

“Show Me Your Papers”

In Los Angeles’s Koreatown, seven ICE agents poured out of unmarked cars, went into a store, prevented other people from entering, and waited for customers to leave. Then they demanded that the cashier show them a valid green card—and served notice to the owner that he had three days to turn over papers documenting the immigration status of every employee. Scenes like this played out from Portland, Oregon to Miami, Florida.

These were the largest immigration raids launched on workplaces under the Trump/Pence regime. And these fascists promise that this is only the beginning. A leading ICE official told the Associated Press that Wednesday’s raids are “the first of many”, and “a harbinger of what’s to come.” The head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations told a reporter, “This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters. It’s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry—big, medium, and small”.

Twenty-one people had their lives devastated, in an instant. They showed up for work early in the morning and quickly found themselves arrested. They have been torn from their homes, their families and friends. They have been effectively “disappeared” from the lives they were leading. They may already be on their way back to countries far away, with no means of communicating with loved ones left behind. Whatever resources they may have built up in this country are beyond their reach; the places they called home are inaccessible to them.

The day after these centrally orchestrated raids, the Washington Post reported that the monster heading up this fascist regime asked, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"—this contemptible racist pig is referring to masses of people from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. The Post continued that Trump “suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway”—a northern European country that is overwhelmingly white.

And the Trump/Pence fascists are telling us this is just the beginning. Ninety-eight stores raided, twenty-one people arrested—and the aim is to terrorize millions—and to let them know you could be next.

First, they are coming for the immigrants. What are you going to do?

Refuse Fascism’s web site posted this urgent message that needs to be taken up and spread far and wide:

“This cannot go down without a response, and immigrant communities cannot be left to stand alone. Refuse Fascism in LA is putting out a call to people everywhere: go to your local 7-Elevens and put up the NO! Poster up around the neighborhood of the 7 Eleven. EVERYONE can do this, print up posters put them up and go into the 7-Eleven and introduce ourselves to the employees... AND step up our work to drive out this fascist regime.”

Revolution/revcom.us will continue to report on these important developments.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/what-you-can-do-now-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

What You Can Do Now

January 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

In the face of the white supremacist attacks by Donald Trump on immigrants from Haiti, Africa, El Salvador and elsewhere, here's what you can do now to spread the word about the very timely and relevant works from Bob Avakian (BA), and to resist this foul, racist shit.


1) Spread the clip from Bob Avakian: Why Do People Come Here From All Over the World? Send it to your friends and email lists, post it on Facebook and Instagram, tweet it out, send text messages: "Why DO people come here from all over the world? Bob Avakian answers @ youtube.com/revolutiontalk." Watch this clip, FWD this text. Get the clip up on blogs and into internet discussions.

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

 

 

2) CONTRIBUTE to our coverage. Write to revolution.reports@yahoo.com with your comments. People need to know the history of US domination and crimes in Haiti, Africa, El Salvador and countries the world over. Write to us about what you know, and about your experience and the experiences of your friends and family.

 

3) Get the memes out all over.

Share on social media

Share on social media

Share on social media

Share on social media

 

4) Get into BA—and right now: Watch and share BA’s talk “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”; listen to or read the talk “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us”; and read “A Country Ruled By White Supremacists—Since When Is That Acceptable?”

Bob Avakian, "The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!"

 

 

5) Check revcom.us every day for breaking news and crucial analysis.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/the-biggest-ugliest-shithole-in-the-world-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

What and Who is the Biggest, Ugliest Shithole in the World?

January 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

In a meeting with congressional leaders over immigration “reform” and other issues, Donald Trump burst out, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He was referring to African countries and Haiti and El Salvador. Instead, he suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like (overwhelmingly white) Norway.

 

Two Obscenities and a challenge to YOU:

1. Donald Fucking Trump, an embodiment of obscene wealth in the USA, calls a continent, and its people—raped and ravaged by capitalism for 600 years—an obscenity. And speaks of Haitians and people from El Salvador in the same vein.

He rules a country that is literally drenched in the blood, and built on the bones of enslaved Africans, and the plunder and rape of peoples around the world.

The ONGOING Imperialist Rape of Africa

From the plantations and mines of Africa, extracted through the most sadistic, depraved violence and torture, came the gold, the food, the enslaved human beings on which the vast wealth and military power of the United States was built. In the USA in particular, from border to border, from coast to coast, banking, shipping, manufacturing, and relatively comfortable lives for millions of Americans were built on the whipping machine that drove slaves in the South to inhuman levels of exploitation, deprived of even the right of women to resist being raped by their masters.

This is not ancient history, the shadow and stamp of this is all over present-day reality. The status of descendants of African slaves in America has evolved, but the subjugation and degradation of Black people in America remains and is moving in an ominously genocidal direction. Millions locked down in mass incarceration, subjected to police brutality, and deprived of access to proper food, medical care, and housing.

In Africa today, the scars of slavery on the economies, politics, and culture are open and raw. Africa continues to be plundered by “the West” for the elements that make your smartphone work, and that enable a Donald Trump to have his finger on “the biggest” nuclear trigger in the world.

Genocide, Slavery and Exploitation of the Americas

Another cornerstone of the rise of European/western capitalism was the enslavement of the indigenous people of Haiti by Christopher Columbus in 1492, which led to the total genocide of the original inhabitants. Next, the colonial powers imported slaves who were worked to death by French masters. The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 drove out the French—an act for which the rulers of the “free world” have never forgiven the Haitian people. Today the vast majority of the population is exploited in sweatshops or tourism or left to die of utterly preventable disease.

For generations, the people of El Salvador were enslaved on plantations and sweatshops for American corporations, ruled by ruthless tyrants sponsored and backed by the U.S. empire. And when, in the 1980s, people in Central America rose up to overthrow one of those regimes, the U.S. saw this as not just a threat to the profits of American corporations, but a challenge to U.S. domination of Central America—which the rulers arrogantly claimed as their “back yard” from rival powers. The U.S. backed regimes of murderers and torturers in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala to crush those uprisings.

Despite all they have endured, the people of the places Trump calls “shitholes” have contributed inspiring and world-class works of art, literature, breakthroughs in science and culture, much of which is ripped away from these countries by “brain drain” and other forces generated by the vast global inequality in this world of oppressor and oppressed peoples and nations.

The Obscene but Ubiquitous Myth that America is the Greatest Country in the World

The myth that the power and prosperity of America and “the West,” including white people (“Norway”) is due to the hard work, honesty, and creativity of Americans (like Donald Trump!?) is as absurd and obscene as it is ubiquitous.

Greatest country in the world!? As we have shown, the wealth and power of this country is built in large part on the blood of people of other countries.

Arising from, justifying, and serving and enforcing this horror is white supremacy—the lie that white people are somehow more industrious and intelligent than other people and therefore more deserving of a special place in society. Trump’s consciously racist rant was of a piece with his incessant inciting “his base” as a base for full implementation of fascism, overt, open, undisguised capitalist dictatorship without even the pretense of civil liberties and rule of law, and extreme, violent ethnic cleansing.

Trump's America is actually the biggest, ugliest shithole in the world.

The most concise, compelling, evidence-based, and damning exploration of how all this led to the coming to power of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime, and why it must, and can be driven out in the interests of humanity is in THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America: A Better World IS Possible, A Talk by Bob Avakian. The world needs to see this. Watch it. Share it. And write revolution.reports@yahoo.com with your thoughts and experiences with it.

2. Now Dick Durbin (Democratic senator from Illinois), who is supposed to be a champion of immigrants’ rights and was at the meeting to negotiate with Trump is saying Trump used “vile, racist” language. So why the FUCK didn’t he and every other person in the room get up and immediately walk out and publicly denounce this outrageous venom? 

If you were to administer truth serum to Dick Durbin, he might tell you he was appalled by Trump’s statement, but that he was there meeting with him, and did not and could not walk out because “that’s not how our system works.” And, at least under truth serum, he’d be telling you the truth.

3. So ... what about YOU? If you fell for, or convinced yourself to put up with this bullshit once, or twice, or a hundred times, you don’t have to do it again; face it: relying on the Democrats is an utterly bankrupt strategy for stopping Trump.

What are you waiting for? The 2018 elections (with the mandate to keep impeachment off the table so the Democrats can win some swing states)?! Listen to what the leaders of the Democratic Party are telling you. Watch what they are doing—seeking “common ground” with a rabid white supremacist. They are accommodating to, working within, and legitimizing this fascist regime even as they fight out differences with it within those parameters.

At what point do people go into the streets and say BASTA YA!, No More!, Get The Fuck OUT!  And how does anyone justify waiting for more years with the fucking Grand Dragon of the Imperial Empire sitting on the oval throne.

Right now, RefuseFascism.org is organizing people to do exactly that. Get with them! Join them!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/189/US_in_Haiti-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

The U.S. in Haiti: A Century of Domination and Misery

January 17, 2010 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 12, 2018: In light of Trump's fascist, racist attacks on Haitians we are reposting this article (originally written after the earthquake of 2010 which killed thousands and devastation from which Haitians are still suffering.

 

In the wake of the earthquake, the U.S. is posing as the greatest friend of Haiti. But the whole history of the U.S. in Haiti shows just the opposite.

The native people of the island of Hispaniola (what is today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) were exterminated by the Spanish conquerors in the 1500s and 1600s. In the 18th century, the French colonialists who took over Haiti set up a system of slavery so harsh it was assumed new slaves would die from overwork. The blood of slaves poured into the capitalist world markets of coffee and sugar, making Haiti the most profitable colony in the world.

In 1791, Toussaint L'Ouverture led a slave rebellion which over 13 years defeated, in succession, the slave-owners of Haiti, armies from Spain and Britain (who saw the revolt as an opportunity to seize Haiti for themselves), and then the army of Napoleon, the French leader who at that time had conquered most of Europe.1 Toussaint was captured after agreeing to negotiate a peace with the French, and taken back to France in chains, where he died in prison. But the rebellion flared up until Haiti was independent, and slavery abolished. This was the first and only successful slave revolution in history.2

The Haitian Revolution set off a panic among the rulers of the U.S. and the European powers, who refused to recognize the new Haitian Republic. The French navy imposed a total embargo on Haiti. In 1805 the French foreign minister wrote to U.S. Secretary of State James Madison that "The existence of a Negro people in arms, occupying a country it has soiled by the most criminal acts, is a horrible spectacle for all white nations."3 The U.S. honored the embargo and refused to recognize, assist or trade with Haiti.

The embargo had a crippling impact on the island nation, whose agriculture had been devastated by warfare. It remained in effect until 1825, when France agreed to end it, in return for a Haitian commitment to "compensate" them for the loss of their "property"—i.e., their SLAVES.This "debt" was set at 150 million francs—roughly the annual French budget.4 Haiti was forcibly enmeshed in a network of debt and deep poverty. In the late 1800s, debt payments amounted to 80% of the Haitian budget.5

In the 20th century, the U.S. asserted itself as the dominant power in its "backyard." In 1915 it invaded and occupied Haiti. U.S. Marines went straight to the Haitian national bank and removed its gold reserves to Citibank in New York City. The Haitian constitution was rewritten to allow foreign ownership of Haitian property; land was seized from small peasants to create large plantations;6 the economy was reorganized so that 40% of Haiti's gross domestic product flowed to U.S. banks.7

The Haitian people fiercely resisted the occupation in a series of revolts which the U.S. military ruthlessly crushed, murdering leaders, burning villages to the ground and killing 15-30,000 Haitians.8 The occupiers did not leave until 1934, leaving behind the brutal, U.S.-trained, Haitian National Army to repress the people.

In 1957, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier came to power and set up his own army of thugs—the Tontons Macoutes. The Duvalierist reign of terror—supported and backed by the U.S.—killed roughly 50,000 people.9

When Papa Doc died in 1971, U.S. warships were stationed just off the coast of Haiti to oversee a smooth transition of power to Duvalier's son, Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc"). Baby Doc was closely associated with the "American Plan," 10 which explicitly aimed to cut the ground out from under peasant agriculture by large-scale imports of cheaper U.S. goods, driving hundreds of thousands of peasants into the cities and shantytowns, desperate for work in U.S.-owned assembly plants being set up by the likes of Disney and Kmart, which paid workers 11 cents an hour to make pajamas and t-shirts.11

In 1985-86 a powerful uprising swept Haiti, forcing the U.S. to rescue Baby Doc and fly him to the French Riviera, in order to preserve their basic control of the country through the Haitian Army. A series of military governments followed, known to Haitians as "Duvalierism without Duvalier." In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a radical priest and a leader of the Ti Legliz ("Little Church," the Haitian expression of the Liberation Theology movement) and of the anti-Duvalierist movement, was elected president. Though Aristide did not have a plan to break out of the framework of U.S. domination, he was not totally subservient to it nor to the pro-U.S. local ruling classes and repeatedly clashed with them over both foreign and domestic policy. Haitian reactionaries hated him, the U.S. saw him as "unreliable" and from even before his inauguration worked to overthrow him.12 On September 30, 1991, after just nine months in office, the CIA collaborated with local military forces to stage a bloody coup d'état, and in ensuing waves of repression unleashed soldiers and Macoutes to rip up the networks of mass organization, especially in slums like Cité Soleil, that were Aristide's base of support. Thousands of his supporters were killed, up to 300,000 went into hiding, and another 60,000 fled the island in makeshift boats.13

But this did not quell resistance or establish a "stable environment" for the U.S., so in 1994 the U.S. brokered a deal to restore Aristide to office, returning him from exile on a U.S. warship, accompanied by 20,000 U.S. troops who proceeded to protect the violent paramilitaries from the people and allow them to keep their arms, while they reorganized the army to more effectively suppress the people. The troops remained for over a year. The terms of a deal (known as the Governors Island accords) was that Aristide abandon all resistance to the U.S. plan for Haiti and to the Haitian Army and ruling class.14

Aristide largely honored this agreement but continued to fight for whatever concessions he could find, which the U.S. found unacceptable. On February 29, 2004, after many months of political and military preparation in which the U.S. was directly involved (through the CIA and the International Republican Institute—IRI) a second coup was carried out. The U.S. military literally kidnapped Aristide and his family and put him on a plane to the Central African Republic, where he was kept as a new regime consolidated.15 By March 1, hundreds of U.S. Marines again controlled the capital, and new waves of attacks, often by U.S. soldiers, were unleashed on the people. In June they were replaced by a force of 7,000 UN troops (mainly Brazilian) who have been cited by Human Rights groups as widely practicing "Summary Executions."

From that time until the earthquake, there has been no serious challenge to U.S. economic, political and military control of Haiti.

 

Download PDF | JPG

 

1. In an inspiring example of internationalism, many European troops—including a whole battalion from Poland—deserted to the Haitian Revolution when they realized that they were fighting to restore slavery. [Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment, Peter Hallward, Verso, London, 2007, p. 350, note 45.] [back]

2. The U.S. initially supported Napoleon; then-President Thomas Jefferson told the French that "nothing will be easier than to furnish your army and fleet with everything and reduce Toussaint to starvation." Later, as it became clear that Napoleon saw Haiti as a stepping stone to rivaling U.S. control of North America, the U.S. withdrew active support and took a position of neutrality. ["Haiti's Tragic History Is Entwined with the Story of America," Robert Parry, Consortium News, January 15, 2010.] [back]

3. Bellegarde-Smith, Breached Citadel, p. 65, cited in Hallward, P. 14. [back]

4. Hallward, p. 12. [back]

5. Hallward, p. 12. [back]

6. Hallward, p. 14. [back]

7. "The Haitian Earthquake: Made in USA," a syndicated column by Ted Rall, January 13, 2010. [back]

8. Alex Dupuy, Prophet and Power, p. 39, cited in Hallward, p. 15. [back]

9. Hallward, p. 15. [back]

10. The "American Plan" is not a loose term, but refers to an actual plan for the "development" of Haiti drawn up by U.S. AID in the late '70s. [back]

11. Hallward, p. 5. [back]

12. Hallward's book documents this in great depth. [back]

13. Hallward, p. 40. [back]

14. Hallward, P. 48-49 and elsewhere. "... the accords gave Cédras [the General who led the coup] almost everything he wanted in return for a promise to restore democratic rule." [back]

15. See Hallward, Chapter 9, "The Second Coup", pp 200—249. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/chicago-taking-NO-to-7-Eleven-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Chicago

Taking NO! to 7-Eleven

January 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a reader,

Yesterday the Trump/Pence fascist ICE police went after immigrants who work at 7-Eleven in a vicious surprise attack. ICE agents stormed various 7-Eleven’s across the country. (For full story go to revcom.us). Refuse Fascism put out a call for people to go out with the NO! posters to their local 7- Eleven’s, to stand with the immigrants who are under attack and put NO! posters in stores or all around the area.

We were able to get out to about five 7-Eleven’s in the Chicago Northside.  We would go in, make an announcement: “The Trump/Pence fascist ICE police were rounding-up people at 7- Eleven’s and targeting immigrants and deporting them, separating families. This is an emergency! There must be massive opposition to these attacks and Refuse Fascism is calling on everyone to post signs across the country and to go out to all demos and protests and stand with those immigrants who are under attack and for them to join up with Refuse Fascism”.    

After we spoke the very first 7-Eleven employee immediately said yes, post it inside the window! One white guy walking out said he had not heard about these raids; when I quickly explained he said, “this is happening in 2018?” I said yes, right at 7-Eleven’s. Another man came over and said he agreed with what was said and that this had to be taken on. He took a small bundle. Another employee said, “they can’t do this, it’s against the Constitution.” Others said to post outside the store as they didn’t have authority to put it up, but as one women who was from Southeast Asia said, “this is around the police raids; we will make sure people get the flier.”  All of the stores took extra Calls from Refuse Fascism to get out.

If everyone went out and posted NO! signs at all the 7-Eleven’s in their neighborhood and city and in and around them it would begin a strong statement about Refuse Fascism: “In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse a Fascist America!”

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

by Bob Avakian

 

This article was originally published at revcom.us in September 2017. In light of Donald Trump's rants about "shithole" countries, we are re-posting this sharp and timely piece and urge readers to spread it broadly.

 

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

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/bob_avakian-quotes-to-download-and-distribute-today-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

CALL TO ACTION:

Download and Distribute These Quotes From Bob Avakian TODAY

January 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To revolutionaries, radicals, haters of oppression and discrimination, and lovers of truth:

In light of the rant from Donald Trump about immigrants from "shithole" countries, the latest in the stream of racist poison coming from this regime—this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, change the whole way people are looking at the history and future of Black people, and all of humanity... as well as the white supremacist in the White House. Get these tight, sharp quotes of Bob Avakian, BA, out everywhere people gather, especially where they gather to protest or to mark MLK Day, and to places of religious worship and the neighborhoods of the oppressed on Sunday.

Download these PDFs, print and spread everywhere!

Letter size (8.5x11)

Download PDF

Half letter size (5.5x8.5) Two to a sheet

Download PDF

Letter size (8.5x11)

Download PDF

Half letter size (5.5x8.5) Two to a sheet

Download PDF

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/false-alarm-of-missile-threat-inbound-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

False Alarm of "Missile Threat Inbound" on Hawai`i—and the Very Real Danger of a Criminal U.S. War in Korea

Updated January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Saturday early morning, people across Hawai`i got an alarming message on their phones from the Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency, saying: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAI`I. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Especially at a time when the Trump/Pence regime has been dialing up war threats against North Korea and Democrats and the mainstream media have been joining in the scare-mongering about the “threat” to the U.S. from North Korean missiles, the emergency alert set off widespread panic. It was 38 minutes later that government officials said this was a “false alarm.”

Whatever the actual origin of the “false alarm” in Hawai`i, the authorities will attempt to reassure people that “this is being looked into.” But there is more. It is highly likely that the dominant fascist sections of the ruling class—with the Trump/Pence regime at the core—will use this as a way to get people to imagine themselves in the middle of a situation like that. This will go along with promoting the thinking that if people want to avoid that, they are going to have to go along with the regime’s threats of what would be a “pre-emptive” war against North Korea. And judging from past practice and current silence, the leading forces of the Democratic Party would at most offer tepid amendments.

These monsters in the White House (and the capitalist-imperialist ruling class as a whole) don’t care one bit about the people. They are more than willing to let people die—or, in this case, to “have the experience” of what it would feel like to stare death in the face for over half an hour—in order to herd them into their plans to maintain and advance the absolutely unjust interests of empire. They are in fact plotting and planning ways to destroy North Korea (see, for instance, the recent piece in Atlantic magazine about Trump’s national security advisor H.R. McMaster and his thinking on war on North Korea) as part of their overall contention for empire. Such a war could easily mean the mass murder of millions of children, women and men in that country and many millions more in the region and beyond—and could easily spiral into a war involving different countries.

Not only must we, the people in the U.S., REFUSE to allow ourselves to be enlisted into what would be a truly monumental crime… but we must actually actively resist this, breaking the silence that has been way too deep.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/release-ravi-ragbir-and-jean-montrevil-now-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org

Release Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil NOW! Drive OUT the fascist Trump/Pence Regime!

January 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ravi Ragbir is the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition. For years, he has been a courageous leader in the battle for immigrants to live with dignity and security in this country. He has been in this country for 27 years. On Thursday, January 11, he reported for what was supposed to be a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Manhattan.

Given the emergency crisis for immigrants and the battle to defend them in Trump and Pence’s America, hundreds of his supporters mobilized outside the ICE office in case the authorities tried to detain him. Many of them were from churches and synagogues aligned with the New Sanctuary Coalition. They circled the office wearing sanctuary buttons and holding signs reading “No borders, no walls” and “No one is illegal.”

Inside ICE headquarters, Ravi Ragbir was handcuffed and held by ICE agents, and reportedly fainted. ICE attempted to transport him to detention in an ambulance. Supporters courageously sat down in front of the ambulance to block it. And, in a sanctuary city – New York City – those protesters were viciously and violently attacked by the NYPD. Eighteen were arrested.

The detention of Ravi Ragbir by ICE is an extremely dangerous escalation of the Trump/Pence regime's war on the sanctuary and immigrants rights movements. And it marks a chilling ratcheting up of repression overall—essentially using ICE as political police to detain and attempt to deport leaders of resistance.

Rally Monday, January 15, noon, Washington Square Park: Release Ravi Ragbir, Jean Montrevil and others unjustly detained!

Carl Dix, an initiator of Refuse Fascism and a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, was on the scene. He said, “This is a concentration of what they’re doing to immigrants. Ravi’s had to check in regularly for more than a decade. Over the last year, it has become a thing of where checking in could mean you’re swept up and out of the country. And he has been a very prominent activist around immigrant rights. The New Sanctuary Coalition has taken up defending him, they’ve developed a Stand with Ravi campaign. And they mobilized for this check-in that he had to do. They even had a flyer prepared in the event he got snatched up—announcing that and calling on people to act.

“ICE tried to get Ravi out of the area in an ambulance. There might have been medical issues, or this might have been a way to slip him past his supporters. People tried to block the ambulance, and police vamped on them. A minister, Juan Carlos Luis, was beaten down. City councilman Jumaane Williams was brutalized. City councilperson Ydanis Rodriguez was also arrested.”

The detention of Ravi Ragbir came amidst a storm of extremely ominous assaults on immigrants including ICE raids on 7-Eleven stores, and Trump calling black and brown immigrants unwanted people from “shithole” countries.

Ravi Ragbir’s arrest came one week after ICE detained another prominent immigrant rights leader, New Sanctuary Coalition co-founder Jean Montrevil. On January 3, four ICE vans picked up Jean Montrevil outside his home in Far Rockaway, then took him to Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. He faces deportation to Haiti.

Ragbir’s attorneys filed a lawsuit challenging ICE’s actions in federal court, and a hearing is now scheduled for January 29. The federal court issued a temporary stay of removal and a temporary order preventing Ragbir’s transfer away from the New York region. But according to news reports, ICE is saying Ravi Ragbir is being detained at Krome Detention Center in Florida.

Release Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil NOW! Drive OUT the fascist Trump/Pence Regime!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/notorious-flag-burner-joey-johnson-files-suit-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

Notorious Flag Burner Joey Johnson Files Suit Against City and Police of Cleveland and the Fascist Infowars for Attack on Political Speech

January 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 11, Joey Johnson, supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party, filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Police Department, and the fascist website Infowars for their attempt to prevent the burning of the U.S. flag in protest at the July 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland. Trump had gone to the RNC to deliver a fascist message of white supremacy, “law and order,” scapegoating of immigrants, disgusting misogyny, and naked “America First” chauvinism. Against this Nazi rally, the Revolution Club went right up to the gates and linked arms, as Joey Johnson stood in the middle and lit the red, white and blue rag on fire. This bold action, and the message behind it, was picked up by national and international media and broadcast to the world: There is a force right here in the belly of the beast with a whole different message: America Was NEVER Great! We Need to OVERTHROW the System!

Johnson’s lawsuit was reported widely in the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, McClatchy (Cleveland), San Francisco Chronicle, and Cleveland.com. The following is the statement from Joey Johnson about his lawsuit.

********

My name is Gregory “Joey” Johnson—I was the defendant in the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, Texas v. Johnson, which established the legal precedent that burning the U.S. flag in protest was constitutionally protected political speech.

I am here today filing this lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Police Division, and the fascist Infowars for their illegal police assault and attempt to prevent me from burning the American flag on July 20, 2016 when Donald Trump was selected as candidate for president during the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland. Trump’s campaign and his year as president has been all about a white supremacist, virulently anti-immigrant, misogynist, “America first” chauvinist program under the banner of “Make America Great Again.” On the very day that Trump was nominated, I, along with the Revolution Club protested at the gates of the RNC Convention and said, “America was NEVER Great!, and that America has always been first: at genocide, at slavery, at exploitation, at destruction of the environment, torture, coup d’etats, invasions”… I said, “We’re standing here with the people of the world!” And then I set fire to the American flag. I did this because I believe, as Bob Avakian, the leader of a movement for an actual revolution in this country, says, “American lives are NOT more important than other people’s lives.”

The Cleveland police illegally launched a massive police assault on our protest and more than 16 Revolution Club members or others were dragged to the ground, handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail and kept in preventive detention until the RNC was over. 

Along with being brutally assaulted by the federal, state and local police, at the same time, I was also attacked and punched by two fascist thugs who later identified themselves as Infowars operatives and admitted on YouTube that same night that they came to the protest to prevent me from carrying out what is… (still so far) constitutionally protected political speech, and that they punched and kicked and tore my shirt.

Yet, the police and prosecutors charged me with assault against these fascist thugs, claiming they were the victims! I faced charges and the threat of jail for six months; two other protesters faced multiple felony charges and years in prison and 12 other protesters faced misdemeanor charges. ALL the charges against the RNC 16 Defendants, as we became known, were either dropped or dismissed before trial in the face of vigorous political support and a strong legal defense by over 30 lawyers brought together by the National Lawyers Guild who volunteered their services and skills, including from the NAACP. 

Our political protest, including the burning the American flag that day, was also extremely prescient. We were sounding the alarm about the real dangers of a Trump presidency, and now the fascist Trump and Pence regime in less than a year has shown what “Making America Great Again” means: a nightmare for humanity; ugly and deadly white supremacy; demonizing and tearing apart immigrant families; banning and terrorizing Muslims, LGBTQ people and all those deemed “un-American”; threatening NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem; destruction of the environment as well as threats to totally annihilate with nuclear weapons the 25 million human beings who live in North Korea.

Remember Trump’s tweet, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag—if they do, there must be consequences—perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump called on his rabid supporters to beat up protesters and have them carried out on stretchers at his fascist Nuremburg rallies and offered to pay their legal fees if they were arrested for carrying out such criminal acts. State laws are being passed which would enable drivers to run over protesters.

The attack on me and the Revolution Club at the 2016 RNC was an attempt to beat down those who dare to stand up and call out the system for the crimes it commits against people here and around the world and intimidate others who do not want to live in a fascist America. As the RNC 16 has stated, “We had a right to protest and we were right to do it.” With this lawsuit, I not only reiterate that but I am sounding the alarm again, calling on the millions who feel tremendous revulsion and anguish over the turmoil and harm being done by the Trump/Pence regime, and the threat of much greater harm and suffering to come, to demand: this nightmare must end; the Trump/Pence Regime must go!

I am very appreciative of the efforts of the Chandra Law Firm, to Subodh Chandra and Patrick Kabat in representing me. I’m filing this lawsuit against the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Police Department because my arrest and those of the 15 other protesters outside the gates of the 2016 Republican National Convention was illegal, outrageous and an act of political repression.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/people-protest-right-after-false-missile-alert-in-hawaii-en.html

Revolution #525 January 8, 2018

People Protest Right After False Missile Alert in Hawai`i: “Now’s the Time, Now’s the Hour, Drive the War-Mongers Out of Power!”

January 14, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Saturday, January 13—This morning an alert blasted out on every cell phone on every island of the State of Hawai`i—three loud buzzes followed by a warning: “Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This is Not a Drill.” This was followed by a deafening silence as people waited for a nuclear bomb to fall. Many rushed to their phones to call the media or the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency or turned on their televisions or radios to get more information but could reach no one. Media phone lines were overloaded; the Emergency Management Agency’s website crashed. Some rushed to get their emergency supplies together. Parents opened manhole covers and shoved their kids down storm drains. Others called their friends and family or posted Facebook messages saying good-bye. And then came the wait—a full 37 minutes before an official message was sent saying that the warning was a false alert. Given that residents of Hawaii have repeatedly been told that inter-continental ballistic nuclear missiles could only be detected 20 minutes before arriving in the islands, many expected nuclear annihilation.

Within an hour of being notified that the missile alert was a false alarm, five organizations had gotten in touch with each other and had posted a Facebook event calling for a protest at the Federal Building that afternoon. Refuse Fascism was among them. More than 50 people came to the protest within just a few hours. They were angry and loud, and placed the blame squarely on the Trump/Pence regime, chanting: “No War! No Trump! We Won’t Take It Anymore!”; “Now’s the Time, Now’s the Hour, Drive the War-Mongers Out of Power!” and “No Nukes! No Excuses!” An online petition denouncing the missile sirens as war-mongering came alive. Actions for disarmament were called for the MLK Day holiday and beyond. Within minutes of the alert, Facebook pages were ablaze with messages denouncing the U.S.’s militarism and the Trump/Pence regime. However, as soon as the alert was lifted, state officials began creating committees to “investigate” and the Federal Communications Commission has promised a “full investigation” in order to divert the righteous anger against U.S. war-mongering to demands to fire everyone involved in issuing the false alert.

Hawai`i has been on edge for months. Every first Tuesday of the month island-wide sirens go off to “practice” emergency alerts that notify residents of incoming ballistic missiles. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has been conducting meetings in neighborhoods to advise residents how to prepare for the unthinkable. If anyone had read the mainstream morning paper they would have read the first page headlines: “Isle Military Brass Weighs N. Korean Threats” reporting on a major conference on nuclear preparedness at the State Capitol yesterday in which a retired Air Force Lt. General warned that “There is a real threat [to Hawai`i]… The U.S. is the designated recipient because we are public enemy No. 1 to North Korea,” and noted that Hawai`i’s proximity to North Korea makes Hawai`i the likely target. Politicians and military officials have been demanding additional military funds to build a more powerful missile defense system to intercept missiles predicted to come from North Korea and many people are being won over to the idea that the U.S. has to launch a pre-emptive war against North Korea because “there’s no other choice.” In a state where war-mongering is rampant and North Korea is constantly being vilified, the missile alert was not only terrifying but further drives people to support the Trump/Pence regime’s calls for war against North Korea. However, this is not an easy task.

Trump does not have widespread support in Hawai`i. Hawai`i’s population has a close connection to Japan and Korea. Stories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are told and re-told, and while the history of the U.S. war against Korea in the early 1950s is less well known, many are aware of the devastation caused by that war and have close connections with families in Korea. People remember Pearl Harbor and there is widespread fear that the massive presence of the U.S. military in Hawai`i makes the islands more vulnerable to attack. Nonetheless, today’s missile alert may push many more to believe that the only way to avoid being the target of a nuclear war is to strike first.

In light of the widespread fear that government officials and the media have been spreading, it has been heartening that a few individuals and organizations have been writing letters to the newspapers, holding small protests denouncing the monthly missile tests, and crashing the Emergency Management Agency’s “community preparedness” meetings. Today that message resonated and was amplified.

In a small way the silence against the very real danger of nuclear war was broken in Hawai`i today, but these voices will fall silent if they are not joined by millions of people across the U.S. who refuse to go along with efforts to create an atmosphere of fear in the very real threat of nuclear war and instead fight to end the nightmare we are living in and take to the streets to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.