Revolution #526, January 15, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of the entire issue. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/526/year-end-gathering-to-watch-film-of-Bob-Avakian-talk-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

A year-end gathering to watch the film of Bob Avakian's talk: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On the day before New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, 30 people gathered to watch the film of a talk by Bob Avakian: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible.

The Bob Avakian Institute sponsored the event, which brought together a diverse group. Students home for the holidays heard about it on Facebook and a number of activists with Refuse Fascism attended. Several people came off of hearing an announcement on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK. In the mix were members of the Revolution Club who had spent time with the talk and wanted to get more deeply into it with others.

After watching the talk and one of the Q&As, a representative of The Bob Avakian Institute asked: Why does BA begin the talk the way he does, where does he go and what do you think?

What followed was a rich and lively discussion on how this fascist regime came to be and the particular history of this country from its founding through to today, saturated with white supremacy, patriarchy and American exceptionalism. People dug into how all of this is rooted in the development of class society and the history of capitalism itself, including the dominance of Western “civilization” throughout the world, how tens of millions of people in this country came to support a fascist regime, and what fascism is and the real danger this poses to humanity and to any effort to get to a better world. We also got quite deeply into some big ideological questions about how we look at our own role in stopping this.

Here are some of the highlights of the wide-ranging discussion:

A woman who opened the discussion said she thought BA began with the exposure of how the U.S. Constitution legalized rape, because you had to have your own thinking challenged about how horrific things couldn’t happen in this country. In this opening, BA explains that while rape wasn’t actually legalized, slavery was and rape was a central part of the functioning of slavery—slave masters systematically raping enslaved women. She said that she had never heard a critique of the U.S .Constitution like this, showing how embedded oppression is in the very founding of this country, and that she was really quite challenged by it. She talked about the concept that BA gets into of The Great Tautological Fallacy (GTF), the circular argument that because America is a force for good in the world, everything it does is by definition good and must be defended. Again, she’d never considered this before and it has really challenged her to look at how this country justifies what it does to the people of the world, but also what it makes possible in terms of a fascist regime.

Two points were raised from the audience about why slavery was an important theme in this talk. One had to do with breaking the disbelief that fascism could not happen in this “democracy,” that there are illusions people have about how the level of repression in fascism is somehow antithetical to the founding principles of this country. But you can see how this is not true when you understand that the roots of America are genocide and slavery. The other point had to do with how the oppression of Black people is woven into the whole fabric of this country to this day. It is crucial to understanding why it is that white supremacy is so core to what is being cohered through the Trump/Pence fascist regime. One person talked about Adam Serwer’s article in the November 20, 2017 issue of Atlantic magazine, “The Nationalist’s Delusion,” which presents this with compelling evidence and really puts to rest that false notion that the 2016 election was mainly an expression of economic distress among the working class.

There was some struggle about this as some people—despite the evidence—kept wanting to chalk it up to white people’s economic distress. Someone marshaled the evidence in BA’s talk to speak to why this was untrue.

People also dug into why BA went back to talk about the development of class society thousands of years ago, and how capitalism developed in Europe, the massive changes that this unleashed with its expansion throughout the world, its rosy dawn dripping in blood, built on the enslavement of millions of people from Africa and the working to death of indigenous people in the gold and silver mines in the new world. A couple people commented on how important that is to understanding the roots of what we are seeing now—about the white Christian supremacy that is woven into the fabric of this country and is finding extreme expression in the current rise of fascism. Someone else brought it back to how this is rooted in the workings of the system of capitalism and why this is so important to understand. A student who had recently read Bob Avakian’s THE NEW COMMUNISM talked about fascism as a response to the needs of this system, the situation that U.S. imperialism is facing today and why American exceptionalism and chauvinism are integral to all of this.

A person very new to BA and this kind of discussion talked candidly about what held him back from going to the recent protests against the Trump/Pence fascist regime. He talked about his personal fear of the violence of the fascists. And then he would hear people he knew talk about what they would do if they were confronted by the fascists and his fear that things could quickly get out of control.

This opened up a whole discussion on how we should understand what we are confronting—how the regime is moving to consolidate fascism in terms of the kinds of changes occurring in every section of government and society; the impact of the Christian fascists, the attacks on the very notion of truth and evidence, and so on; what fascism is and what it would mean for humanity, the great harm it is already doing, but also what it would mean if it was able to make the all-out leap into a society where resistance, as in Germany, was made immeasurably more difficult.

One person talked about how BA spoke to this in one of the Q&As, referring to a second statement from Pastor Martin Niemöller, who is famous for saying in a first statement that he did not speak up as the fascists in Germany came for the communists, then the Jews… because he was not one of them, and when they came for him, there was no one left to speak up. Niemöller spoke later after coming out of the concentration camp that if he and others had spoken out at the beginning, that, yes, there would have been sacrifices, but this could have saved millions from the hell that came after.

This was a deep moment as people reflected on the challenge that the current situation is putting on all of us, and the need to rise to that. Someone else brought in the answer to the Q&A that we did watch all together, where BA talks about how important it is for people to really understand the stakes of what we are facing—and the necessity to act in the streets. This is what will enable people to overcome fear and uncertainty, and to stop putting themselves first—acting in the name of humanity to prevent the consolidation of a fascist America.

A woman from the Revolution Club and one of the main organizers for Refuse Fascism talked about her own education and the impact of the lies told around U.S. history. First, that many people like herself were deprived of an education, having been discouraged to the point of dropping out at a young age, but also the fact that slavery was straight-up justified in what was being taught in her school. She was told that slaves were taken care of by their masters and were happy under their conditions of enslavement. And how people need to understand how these ideas have become acceptable and are being taught as the truth and the consequences of this on the lives of millions of people. Immigrants are called rapists and are being rounded up. This is not something far off in the distant future: these lies are being spread today and this has a dangerous impact in terms of justifying horrors. She argued that the resistance we need is not for later or under some future abstract favorable conditions that won’t exist. She spoke to why this has to be fought now with the goal of bringing millions into the streets to drive out this whole regime.

The discussion was very rich with people continually weighing in and getting deeper into the importance of this talk to understanding what it is we are facing and how this fascist regime will be stopped. People were raising important points to the very end, and many stayed to talk and to connect with the movement that is out to stop all of this.

A number of people wanted to know much more about Bob Avakian, his history and the New Synthesis of Communism he has developed, and purchased books and signed up to learn more about and be involved in future work of The Bob Avakian Institute.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 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 #526 January 15, 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/526/drive-these-make-america-white-again-fascists-from-power-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Trump Calls Black and Brown Nations “Shitholes”

Drive These “Make America White Again” Fascists from Power!

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 11, Donald Trump, the Piece of Shit of the U.S. (hereafter, “POSTUS”), came full out of his KKK closet in a room full of congressmen and aides, demanding to know why the U.S. should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador, and the whole continent of Africa. POSTUS said the U.S. needs immigrants from countries like overwhelmingly white Norway. Referring to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians in the U.S., Trump said, “Take them out!”

All this was no “slip.” No, this is “the new normal” Americans are supposed to accept—and by the way, you ARE accepting if you are not raising holy hell about it.

According to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, POSTUS used this language repeatedly as part of laying out his position on immigrants and immigration. No one in the room clearly denied that he said this. A White House spokesman bragged that these remarks showed that POSTUS “will always fight for the American people,” and unnamed sources in the White House said the comments would “resonate” with his base. And, while some have criticized his “vulgarity,” almost the entire Republican Party has closed ranks around the content of what POSTUS said.

So let’s be dead-clear on what just happened. First, no joke or exaggeration, “Make America Great Again” means “Make America White Again.” Literally.

This is Nazi shit—this is dividing up humanity into racial categories and saying some of them aren’t human. Period. And under this “logic,” the fascists won’t even stop with driving out immigrants from these “shithole countries,” but will go after their U.S.-born descendants as well.

The Trump/Pence regime is already enacting the policies that are racing down that road. It is throwing out 260,000 Salvadorans and 60,000 Haitians here under TPS (Temporary Protected Status, granted in the face of catastrophic conditions in their homelands). For many of these people, going back to those countries, devastated because of decades of what the U.S. has done, is a death sentence. And it is threatening to end protection for 800,000 mainly Latino “Dreamers” in the DACA program (people who came to the U.S. with their undocumented parents and have grown up and sunk roots in the U.S.). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is cranking up deportations and building “detention centers” as fast as it can. POSTUS pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was in trouble with the courts because he profiled, harassed, brutalized and detained all people of Mexican-American descent, even if they were born in the USA. And POSTUS is already treating Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands like they are not part of the U.S., at the cost of tremendous suffering.

And this is also a message to the racist mob that is the hard-core base of this regime—it is normalizing the dehumanization of Black and Brown people, turning their families and communities into—in the eyes of the regime’s followers—an “infestation” that is “destroying America.”

This is the outlook that leads to pogroms, to lynchings, to massacres, to holocausts.

If you say “It can’t happen here” when it fucking IS happening here, then objectively, regardless of your wishes or intentions, you are complicit in it happening. And it is not going to get easier to stand up against this if you wait and do nothing.

And speaking of the Democrats! What the fuck!?!?

Dick Durbin is a prominent, supposedly liberal and principled Democratic senator. And yes, after the meeting he publicly denounced Trump’s racism.

But the real question is, why was he even in the room with POSTUS and these other virulent anti-immigrant fanatics to hear this ugly ranting in the first place? And why didn’t he stand up and walk the fuck out when POSTUS said this shit the first time?

Because he was trying to “make a deal” on immigration. Durbin was offering to “trade”: money for the fascists’ Wall against Mexico and “discussion” about ending so-called “chain migration,”1 for a temporary reprieve for the Dreamers. (And by the way, the Dreamers themselves have made clear that they do NOT want to be the bait in such a deal, that they are not going to betray their families, their relatives, their principles, for a momentary reprieve from deportation.) This would amount to a “deal” to facilitate and smooth over the rough edges of ethnic cleansing. Once over this rough patch, the fascists would undoubtedly turn around and deport the Dreamers as well.

Durbin, along with Schumer, Pelosi, Sanders, Warren and all the major Democratic figures, are collaborators with this regime2 , and they showed it in their reaction to this watershed moment. Confronted with the undeniable reality that a white supremacist regime holds power, they doubled down on their “willingness to seek common ground,” on their position of keeping impeachment “off the table,” and their determination to funnel all the anger, outrage and fear of the majority of the population into “voting Democratic” in 2018, 2020, 2022... ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

The Democrats are the “escape valve” for the simmering mass hatred of this regime, diverting people from the kind of mass outpourings in the streets that are urgently necessary and possible to DRIVE THIS REGIME OUT, and into electoral dead ends. In return, maybe some immigrant children will get a pat on the head while their parents are being dragged away and deported... before they themselves are deported!

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. It’s time to wake up: there is something deeply wrong with failing to confront reality when it is staring you in the face—the reality that relying on the Democrats is an utterly bankrupt strategy for stopping Trump and these unfolding horrors. This system will not correct itself without ordinary people stepping outside of the “normal channels.”

Things have reached the point where ALL people of conscience MUST go into the streets and say BASTA YA! No More! This Regime Must Get The Fuck OUT!

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


1. “Chain migration” is the fascists’ insulting term for the process where foreign-born U.S. citizens can—horrors!—sponsor their parents, grandparents, children to come here as well. [back]

2. A number of Black and Brown Democratic officials have strongly denounced Trump as a racist, but these are figures with no real power or influence on the national Democratic Party. [back]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/false-alarm-of-missile-threat-inbound-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/people-protest-right-after-false-missile-alert-in-hawaii-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/mcmaster-adults-in-white-house-restrain-trump-better-read-this-article-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

If You’re One of Those People Who Tells Yourself the “Adults” in the White House Will Restrain Trump from Nuclear War—You Better Read This Article

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump continues to taunt Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, and threatens to attack the country of 27 million people. The world is teetering on the brink of possible nuclear war. This is real. It would mean a holocaust of indescribable suffering.

What are you doing about this? Do you hope that the “adults in the room” at the White House can steer Donald Trump away from launching a war against North Korea?

Think again. A recent article in The Atlantic reveals the cold-blooded big-power calculations behind the dangerous moves and threats the U.S. is making in the Korean Peninsula, in particular the outlook and thinking of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, an “intellectual” in Trump’s cabinet.

McMaster is a “respected” figure in the U.S. military establishment. He is regarded as one of the “leading thinkers about the future of war.” The Atlantic article raises the question, “Why does Donald Trump’s national-security advisor insist—more vigorously than any administration official except the president himself—that Kim Jong-un must be denied the capability to place a nuclear warhead on a missile that can reach the United States, even if this requires initiating a military conflict with the North that could devolve into a cataclysmic war?”

Any U.S. military attack on North Korea—including a so-called “bloody nose” strike, a quick attack meant to send a “signal” to the North Korean leadership—would be utterly unjust aggression and a crime against humanity of monstrous proportions. And it could also escalate very quickly and horrifically into a bigger war with catastrophic consequences for millions of human lives. John Nagl, a retired lieutenant colonel who worked with McMaster in Iraq, described this scenario: “We give North Korea a ‘bloody nose.’ They respond with a conventional artillery strike on [the South Korean capital of] Seoul. We go nuclear. China mobilizes [to prevent the Kim regime’s fall]. ... There is every prospect of a ‘bloody nose’ for North Korea ending in global war between China and the United States.”

A Test of Wills

This is madness. But there’s a logic—an imperialist logic—behind this madness. McMaster and others see U.S. global dominance threatened from various quarters, with different powers and forces testing U.S. power, probing weaknesses, and seeing how the U.S. responds. McMaster draws lessons from the periods leading up to World War 1 and World War 2—periods of complex maneuvers, challenges, and tensions among different global powers that culminated in catastrophic wars among them.

McMaster thinks that similar to the 1930s, in the period leading up to WW2, multiple large and heavily armed states today confront and jockey with each other for a dominant position. These rivals and potential rivals want to “revise the global order” of U.S. domination. McMaster, the Trump/Pence regime, and the U.S. ruling class as a whole—including the Democratic Party leadership—are determined to prevail in this situation, whatever it takes. Keep in mind that an estimated 60 to 80 million people died in WW2. Today’s weaponry dwarfs the killing capacity of the arsenals used in WW2. McMaster’s study of the 1930s is not a scholarly pursuit of historic knowledge. He is calculating how to lead an empire through a tsunami of blood, death and destruction—and emerge “victorious.”

What does all this have to do with North Korea? As even many U.S. ruling class “experts” acknowledge, North Korea’s few nukes and missiles are not meant as “first strike” weapons, but are an attempt by the country’s leadership to “deter” (prevent) an attack by a much bigger power like the U.S. Kim Jong-un, head of the North Korean regime, has pointed to how U.S. and European powers pressured Muammar Qadaffi of Libya to give up that country’s nuclear program—and then he was ousted by force and killed.

For the rulers of the U.S., stopping North Korean development of nuclear weapons—by war if necessary—has major implications for their whole global power. The Atlantic article characterizes the thinking of McMaster and others: “U.S. allies and adversaries around the world are watching to see whether the United States passes or fails the test of wills on the Korean peninsula, which helps account for McMaster’s worries about sparking a nuclear-arms race and losing America’s alliance with South Korea and foothold in East Asia ... which helps explain why McMaster has set the stakes for the North Korean nuclear crisis so high.”

With this line of reasoning, such things as the recent “thaw” in relations between North and South Korea, and possible talks between the two governments, are not seen by U.S. rulers as “hopeful signs” leading away from war. In fact, if the Trump/Pence regime thinks that North Korea is making some inroads in creating divisions between South Korea and its U.S. imperialist backer, this might compel the U.S. to ramp up its war moves against North Korea, in order to avoid being seen as weak by its rivals and challengers around the world.

McMaster is no blathering loudmouth who flies off the handle with rabid rants. He doesn’t bluster about how his “nuclear button ... is a much bigger & more powerful one” than Kim Jong-un’s. He is utterly rational and cold-blooded in his calculations for conflicts that could lead to nuclear exchanges and the unimaginable death and destruction they would cause.

What Clinging to the Hope (Delusion) That Democrats Will Stop War Will Lead To

If the “sane” figures like McMaster within the regime aren’t going to prevent this war (and in fact are actively preparing and pushing for it), how about the leading Democrats?

These Democratic officials are the same people who, at their 2016 national convention to nominate Hillary Clinton, drowned out a few delegates chanting antiwar slogans by leading jingoistic chants of “USA! USA!” These are the same ruling class politicians who heaped praise on McMaster when Trump appointed him last year. The same people, like Pelosi and Schumer, who have been pushing Trump to be even tougher on sanctions against North Korea and other countries accused of trading with it—before taking the “last resort” of war. This is the same Democratic Party whose members voted unanimously last May to impose sanctions on companies who do business with North Korea. The same Democratic Party whose ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee (Edward Markey of Massachusetts) wrote a letter praising Trump for the sanctions he imposed on North Korea.

Here’s one central thing everyone in the Trump/Pence entourage and the Democratic Party agree on—it is intolerable for the U.S. to allow North Korea to maintain a nuclear deterrent.

And people are supposed to hope that these Democrats are going to stop the monsters in the White House from launching WW3?!?! They won’t—because they see their responsibility as either “bringing along” the more antiwar sections of the population when Republicans are in office and launching wars, or launching wars themselves when they are in office—when they think that the interests of the U.S. dictate doing so. These interests are imperialist interests—based on the premise of the supposed “justice” of the U.S. dominating the planet. Clinging to the hope (the delusion) that the Democrats will stop the fascists in power from going to war will facilitate these war crimes in the making.

A Challenge Facing Everyone

And that leads to a moral challenge, which we all face: Remain silent—and complicit—in the intensifying plans and moves of this regime for a criminal imperialist war... Or do everything we can to raise the alarm and rally others to say NO!, and to work to build the only thing that even has a chance of preventing this catastrophe—massive, independent action against the war. The extremely urgent situation and the huge stakes for humanity demand that people take the right stand, right now.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/ICE-raids-across-the-country-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/526/hundreds-in-los-angeles-protest-trumps-rabid-america-first-white-supremacy-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Hundreds in Los Angeles Protest Trump's Rabid "America First" White Supremacy and Attacks on TPS Salvadorans, Haitians and Nicaraguans

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Protest vs Trump's Attacks on TPS Recipients

On Saturday, January 13, about 800 people rallied and marched through downtown Los Angeles to protest the Trump/Pence regime’s recent decision to rescind TPS (Temporary Protective Status) protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and other immigrants whose TPS protection awaits a decision. The Trump/Pence regime’s Homeland Security Department’s recent cruel termination of TPS for 263,000 Salvadorans, national 7-Eleven store raids, and Trump’s rabidly white supremacist “shithole countries” comments were the immediate sparks for the protest.

The action included immigrant rights groups, unions, students, young professionals and a number of Spanish-speaking immigrant families. Refuse Fascism activists were part of this, and energetically contributed to the action by promoting the necessity to intensify this struggle to stop this fascist regime’s attacks on immigrants and the understanding that this struggle must be consciously linked to a movement to drive out this entire fascist regime. Along with a range of organizations, numerous people who’d had TPS protection spoke movingly from the mic.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/trump-census-bureau-puts-immigrants-in-government-crosshairs-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Trump’s Census Bureau Puts Immigrants in Government Crosshairs

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 12, 2017, the Department of “Justice” (DOJ) quietly sent a memo to the U.S. Census Bureau formally requesting that it include a “question regarding citizenship” on the 2020 census.

Sinister motives underlie the dry bureaucratic language of the DOJ letter. Information collected in the census could be used to serve roundups of millions of people, both documented and undocumented, if the fascist Trump/Pence regime feels compelled to move in that direction.

An Ugly Historical Precedent

The U.S. Constitution mandates that the federal government conduct a national census every 10 years. As its website says, the Census Bureau is directed to “count every person living in the ... United States of America.” Note—every person, not every citizen. The census is then used to shape representation in Congress, which is determined on the basis of total population, and for allocation of billions of dollars in federal funds to local districts over the next decade. Questions asked on the census must be submitted two years in advance, and the deadline for the 2020 census is April 2018.

The Commerce Department is legally responsible for the census. It is highly unusual for the DOJ—which oversees the FBI and federal law enforcement in general—to submit census questions for consideration. Questions about citizenship haven’t been used in census questionnaires since 1950—but they do have an ominous precedent. When the U.S. went to war against Japan in World War 2, it used census data as part of gathering information for its roundup of about 120,000 people of Japanese descent, who were then forced into concentration camps. (See this article in Revolution’s American Crime series for more on the U.S. internment, or imprisonment, of Japanese people, both citizens and legal residents.) Sixty-two percent of the people imprisoned were U.S. citizens, almost all were legal residents, and about half were children.

The U.S. lied about this atrocity for over 60 years. Scientific American reported in 2007 that “Despite decades of denials, government records confirm that the U.S. Census Bureau provided the U.S. Secret Service with names and addresses of Japanese-Americans during World War II.” A professor who wrote the report cited by Scientific American said the bureau provided “microdata”—the addresses, names, relatives, citizenship and immigration status—to the FBI and other government agencies who carried out the arrests.

Since 1910, personal information collected by the Census Bureau has supposedly been confidential. But in 1941 Congress repealed the confidentiality provisions of census law to allow massive spying on Japanese people. Rounding up and internment of Japanese people was ordered by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and upheld in an infamous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The fascists in the Trump/Pence regime, the fascist judges it is packing into federal courts, and the Republi-fascists who dominate Congress could move to mount truly massive and horrific attacks on people they label and consider “alien” once again, with the information provided to the DOJ. Only this time it would be millions of people whose immigration status—along with addresses, names, employment and school records, family, medical and other information—would be in the hands of people like Trump, the white supremacist attorney general Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, and the FBI.

DOJ Targets “Racial Discrimination”—Against White People

Last summer, Steven King, a rabid Christian fascist from Iowa, proposed a law in Congress that the census question people “regarding whether they are citizens, aliens who are in the country lawfully, or aliens in the country illegally.” King and other fascists have argued that it is necessary “to count separately the citizens separate from the non-citizens, the lawfully present Americans separate from the illegal aliens that are here so that America can see how bad this [immigration] is.”

How including questions about citizenship morphed from a proposed law to a quietly vicious move within the Trump/Pence regime is unclear. But a few months after King’s proposal the DOJ sent its letter to the Census Bureau.

With an arrogance that is brazen even for the white supremacists of the Trump/Pence regime, the DOJ cites the Voting Rights Act of 1965—one of the major pieces of legislation of the civil rights era of the 1950s and ’60s—to justify their intended interrogation of citizenship status. That law’s principle aim was to overcome longstanding and deeply engrained laws and measures that prevented Black people from voting, especially in Southern states.

The DOJ letter said information about citizenship “... is critical to the Department’s enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting. To fully enforce those requirements, the Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting-age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected.”

Who are the people the DOJ has determined need protection against “racial discrimination in voting”? Overwhelmingly and primarily, they are white people!

This bullshit turns reality on its head. The U.S. has a long history of vicious oppression, persecution and exploitation of immigrants, including immigrants from Mexico and Central America. The Trump/Pence regime has qualitatively intensified this repression, and is laying the groundwork for even greater atrocities. A measure like the one being pushed by the DOJ would put a bull’s eye on the backs of undocumented immigrants especially, but it targets all immigrants. Many families have members with different legal status—this DOJ measure would be aimed, in part, at requiring people who have legal status and respond to the census to indicate that they have family who are not legal.

Relentless attacks on immigrants are a cornerstone element of the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime. It has taken flagrant, open forms—like the border wall, the steady stream of racist insults, the ending of protected status for hundreds of thousands of Haitians, Salvadorans and others. It has also taken less obvious and publicized measures to advance a fascist agenda of severe repression. All the mounting attacks on immigrants must be met with massive opposition from all sections of the people, and the fascist regime behind them must be removed from power.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/american-crime-47-the-bombing-of-cambodia-1969-1973-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

American Crime

#47: The Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973

January 15, 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: On the night of March 18, 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, 60 U.S. B-52 bombers began raining explosives from the skies over Cambodia. A U.S. official said at the time “We had been told ... that those carpet bombing attacks by B-52s were totally devastating, that nothing could survive.”

B-52 bombers dropping bombs
March 18, 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, 60 U.S. B-52 bombers began raining explosives from the skies over Cambodia. For the next 14 months, a total of 3,800 airstrikes of B-52 and F-111 bombers dropped 108,823 tons of explosives on Cambodia.

Thus began America's first campaign of saturation aerial bombing. It was called "Operation Menu" and for the next 14 months, a total of 3,800 air strikes of B-52 and F-111 bombers dropped 108,823 tons of explosives on this Southeast Asian country less than half the size of California. Cambodia (and Laos) shared a border with Vietnam, and the Hồ Chí Minh trail (named after the North Vietnamese leader), a military and supply route for the Vietnamese liberation forces, ran through Cambodia. This highly effective military and logistical supply route, and the Vietnamese bases along it, were the main targets of the U.S. bombing. But these were not “surgical strikes”—wide swaths of the lush countryside were obliterated, and the U.S. bombed anything that moved.

One Cambodian survivor described the horror: “We heard a terrifying noise which shook the ground, it was as if the earth trembled, rose up and opened beneath our feet. Enormous explosions lit up the sky like huge bolts of lightning; it was the American B-52s.”

The decision to carpet bomb Cambodia was made a few days earlier, after a breakfast planning meeting inside the White House Oval Office. Operation Menu's opening bombing raids were codenamed “Breakfast” and covered an area about 10 square miles. Subsequent similarly bombed target areas were called “Lunch,” “Dinner,” “Snack,” “Supper” and “Dessert.” The codenames kept the bombings secret from almost everyone—from the Cambodians and other Indochinese people, to the masses of people in the U.S., and even to whole sections of the U.S. ruling class such as Congress (except for five members who were secretly informed months later, and who kept silent).

A U.S. embassy official in Cambodia in the early 1970s wrote recently: “I did interview refugees from bombed areas, and most had no idea what had happened to them. The sky turned red and the earth shook, so they ran for their lives. As far as they were concerned it could have been a natural disaster of some sort. Some of them came by bullock cart and brought their dismantled houses with them.”

Between March 1969 and August 1973, the U.S. dropped at least half a million tons of bombs on Cambodia (some estimates range from 2.5 to 2.7 million tons). This included napalm—jellied gasoline that sticks to and burns—literally fries—human skin. The U.S. also dropped cluster bombs. One cluster bomb sprays dozens, even hundreds, of small lethal projectiles over an area, sometime the size of a football field, and shreds its victim on impact, tearing off limbs, organs, torsos or heads. One U.S. military estimate states that 9,500 airstrikes in Cambodia dropped 87,000 cluster bombs. Like victims of nuclear bombs, napalm and cluster bomb survivors are left so physically and emotionally mutilated, livelihood and lives so destroyed, that survivors say they envy the dead.

During the spring of 1970, the U.S. assault on Cambodia was escalated in “Operation Freedom Deal”—a ground invasion with U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. After President Nixon announced the invasion on national TV at the end of April, massive, militant protests erupted immediately on high school and college campuses. The Ohio National Guard deployed to campuses killed four students and wounded nine at Kent State on May 4. About two weeks later, Guardsmen murdered two students and wounded 12 in their after-midnight shooting into dorm rooms at Mississippi’s Jackson State. In response, about 450 schools nationwide and over four million students rose up and shut down campuses, even as more armed National Guardsmen were deployed to dozens of schools in 16 states.

Cambodia had declared neutrality in the U.S. war with Vietnam. But its allowance of the Hồ Chí Minh trail through its territory, along with its own rising anti-U.S. resistance movement, made it a target in a war engulfing most of Southeast Asia. At that time, Cambodia was full of lush vegetation and farmland. The U.S. dropped highly toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange, a defoliant and herbicide that removes leaves from trees and plants,  destroys the agriculture, and poisons vegetation, crops, and livestock as well as people. Over a two-week period, from April 18 to May 2 of 1969, nearly 700 square miles of Kompong Cham Province were sprayed with Agent Orange.

U.S. bombs targeted peasant villages, with many hit by dozens of airstrikes over a matter of several hours resulting in their near total destruction. As one eyewitness to the U.S. air war said: “Three F-111s bombed right center in my village, killing eleven of my family members. My father was wounded but survived. At that time there was not a single soldier in the village, or in the area around the village. Twenty-seven other villagers were also killed. They had run into a ditch to hide and then two bombs fell right into it.”

Years of relentless bombing devastated the entire eastern half of Cambodia, including a wide ring around its capital, Phnom Penh. In some large areas of Cambodia, U.S. bombing site maps show almost every square mile of land was hit. All this shattered Cambodia’s rural agricultural economy and life. Cambodia’s peasant population fled to the cities, mainly Phnom Penh. Estimates of the death tolls from direct bombing range from 100,000 to 600,000—mostly civilians. Hundreds of thousands more likely died due to displacement, disease and starvation in this period. Over two million people, more than 25 percent of its population, were driven from the countryside. This created an enormous refugee crisis and huge shortages of food, shelter and other basic necessities that lasted long after the U.S. airstrikes stopped in August 1973.

The Criminals:

US President Richard Nixon, who ordered the bombing, saying, “I want gunships in there. That means armed helicopters, DC-3s, anything else that will destroy personnel that can fly.... I want everything that can fly to go in there and crack the hell out of them. There is no limitation on mileage and no limitation on budget....” Nixon’s Chief of Staff H.R. Halderman, whose diary admits to urging Nixon to invade Cambodia. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who relayed the order to General Alexander Haig: “He wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia.... Anything that flies, on anything that moves....” (to which Haig reportedly responded with laughter). U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had already begun the bombing of Cambodia in 1965-1968 with 2,565 airstrikes and 214 tons of bombs dropped. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Air Force and other arms of the U.S. military, and the CIA, which all took part in carrying out the bombing raids. The CIA also had backed or even engineered the coup in March 1970 that overthrew the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and installed the U.S. puppet Lon Nol in Cambodia. Others include Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., who was the commander in chief of the Pacific Command; Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird; General Bruce Holloway; Lieutenant General Alvan C. Gillem Jr.; Air Force General George S. Brown and countless others in the Nixon administration.

The U.S. puppet regimes in Cambodia (Lon Nol) and South Vietnam (Nguyen Van Thieu) and their mercenary armies.

The Alibi:

Nixon said on April 30, 1970 that there was increased “enemy activity in Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam ... [that] endangered the lives of Americans [troops] remaining in Vietnam.” He said North Vietnam had increased its aggression, especially in Cambodia, and that the bombing of Cambodia was needed for “peace”—to buy time to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam and carry out Vietnamization of the war, i.e., using Vietnamese troops instead of Americans.

The Real Motive:

Bombing Cambodia wasn’t part of a strategy of “peace,” it was part of a strategy of trying to win the war—or at least prevent a humiliating American defeat and end it on terms favorable to U.S. imperialism.

By the late 1960s, the U.S. military was losing its war against the national liberation forces of Vietnam: the People’s Army of Viet Nam (PAVN)--the North Vietnamese army; and the People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF)--the armed forces of the National Liberation Front (NLF). It was losing the battle for world public opinion about the war. Fierce mass protests were taking place on every continent, including in the U.S. The Black Panther Party had publicly called for its members to fight on the side of the Vietnamese against U.S. imperialism.

The U.S. rulers felt that destroying the Hồ Chí Minh trail and cutting South from North Vietnam was key to any hopes the U.S. had for victory or an “honorable” exit. The U.S. had launched its war in Vietnam to prevent what it called the “domino theory”—that if one country in the region fell to communism or revolutionary nationalism, then surrounding countries could fall like dominos, dealing a blow to U.S. regional dominance and efforts to contain revolutionary China as well as the Soviet Union, which was by then an imperialist power and rival to the U.S.

Vietnam had been the first domino the U.S. imperialists aimed to stop from falling, but was also concerned about Cambodia.

Many forces in Southeast Asia, including inside Cambodia, actively supported or sympathized with North Vietnam/PAVN and the NLF. Open or tacit support of the Hồ Chí Minh trail was a key way to do so. In Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk had declared neutrality in the U.S. war against Vietnam. Cambodia was on record rejecting “all aid granted by the United States in the military, economic, technical and cultural fields” and had turned to socialist China for aid. The U.S. found all this unacceptable at a time they needed to shore up pro-U.S. dictators in Asia, including with CIA-backed or -engineered coups, as it had carried out in South Vietnam (1963). In March 1970, this was applied in Cambodia with a coup removing Sihanouk and installing Lon Nol, an anti-communist, pro-U.S. puppet.

In Cambodia, the U.S. had the added necessity and desire to destroy the internal insurgency (Khmer Rouge) whose growth was fueled by U.S. bombings and invasion. U.S. carpet bombing of Cambodia went on for almost a year after the U.S. signed the peace accord with North Vietnam and with the Provisional Revolutionary Government in South Vietnam, in January 1973. Between March and May 1973, the tonnage of bombs dropped on Cambodia was more than double that in all of 1972.

When the U.S. pulled out its military forces in Indochina, the Lon Nol regime collapsed, creating a vacuum. In 1975, the anti-U.S. Khmer Rouge* marched into Phnom Penh and took control of a totally ruined, war-torn country.

Editor’s note: Today, the Trump/Pence regime is demanding that Cambodia repay half a billion dollars back debt to America, with interest. The $274 million loan, from a U.S. program called “Food for Peace,” was given to the pro-U.S. Lon Nol regime when the U.S. was carpet bombing Cambodia and driving its peasant farmers from the countryside. The loan was to buy American rice, wheat, oil and cotton to feed the starving population—created by U.S. bombing and invasion.

*For analysis and key lessons of the Khmer Rouge’s outlook and program, see discussion in THE NEW COMMUNISM by Bob Avakian, pp. 314-317. [back]

 

Sources

The CIA: A forgotten history, US Global Intervention Since World War 2, William Blum, Zed Books Limited, 1986.

Cambodia Appeals to Trump to Forgive War-Era Debt, ” Julia Wallace, New York Times, April 2, 2017.

Operation Menu”; “Operation Freedom Deal”; “Student Strike of 1970”. www.en.wikipedia.org.

Haig Said Nixon Joked of Nuking Hill,” Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, May 27, 2004.

Bombs Over Cambodia,” Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan, The Walrus, October 2006.

Making More Enemies than We Kill? Calculating US Bomb Tonnages Dropped on Laos and Cambodia and Weighing Their Implications and “Bombs Over Cambodia: New Light on US Air War,” Ben Kiernan and Taylor Owen, The Asia-Pacific Journal, April 27, 2015 and May 2, 2007, respectively.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/golden-globes-takes-stand-against-sexual-assault-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

A Politicized Golden Globes Takes a Stand Against Sexual Assault

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Last Sunday, the Golden Globes was marked by speaking out against the widespread sexual assault—in Hollywood and beyond. We are still at a critical juncture in this vital #MeToo movement, and there is a need for the anger and speaking out to be aimed at the larger culture and institutions of power which serve to enforce and propagate the brutal assault and degradation of women that takes place in every corner of society.

In this context came the Golden Globes, an annual awards show for film and television. In addition to calling out the culture and institutions, prominent actresses and Hollywood executives extended a hand from Hollywood—which has gotten much of the attention—to women of all strata and in all spheres of society who suffer the horror of sexual assault. 

In mid-December, a call went out for everyone attending the awards ceremony to wear black, as a solidarity statement against sexual harassment and abuse. The red carpet was covered in a sea of black dresses embodying a feeling of broad solidarity among the attendees. In addition, a couple days before the ceremony, a new initiative was announced: Time’s Up. This is a legal defense fund created for women in workplaces like fields, factories and hospitals “to come forward without fear of legal, career or financial retaliation and work toward a culture free from sexual harassment.” This fund has now raised almost $17 million. Most attendees wore a Time’s Up pin.

Six actresses brought women activists to give a platform to their work and put them—and the people they fight for—in the spotlight. These activists included a co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization that fights for women farmworkers; an advocate and lawyer for restaurant workers who co-founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo hashtag years ago, and others. This, too, represents a broadening out of the struggle—targeting the ways in which women in every corner of society are assaulted and forging unity among women of different strata.

A number of women made overt political statements, including Frances McDormand, Laura Dern, and more. Elisabeth Moss, who won for best actress in the powerful TV series Handmaid’s Tale, quoted from the author Margaret Atwood: “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” Moss went on to recognize Atwood and “all of the women who came before you and after you, who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom in this world. We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story in print. And we are writing the story ourselves.”

Two important problems to highlight: First, while men wore black tuxedos and many wore Time’s Up pins, none of the men who won a Globe spoke out against sexual assault in their acceptance speeches, highlighting the need for the fight to continue and that this not be a fight for women alone. Everyone is responsible to stand up and speak out against the oppression and degradation of the half of humanity that is female. 

Also, in contrast to last year’s awards, almost no one mentioned the sexual-predator-in-chief Donald Trump, who has for decades openly bragged about his assaults against women including the well known video recording where he talked about how being famous gave him license to grab women’s genitals! In addition, and even more important, he is now at the helm of a fascist regime which promises a Handmaid’s Tale future today: where women are forced into motherhood against their will, biblical-literalist control of women in a society with no separation of church and state, and LGBTQ people are forced back into the closet in shame and terror. If we’re really going to say No More! to sexual assault, we can’t sidestep the fascist regime in power.

Oprah Winfrey gave a powerful speech where she spoke to the attacks on the press (alluding to Trump without speaking to him directly). She also told the story of Recy Taylor, a Black woman raped by six white men in Alabama in the mid 1940s. This was a case that was fought by the NAACP, though as Oprah said, “Justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow.” She ended her speech with the following: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

An inspiring and important vision and one which all of us have to fight for.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/524/controversy-over-matt-damons-comments-about-metoo-movement-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

On the Controversy over Matt Damon’s Comments About the #MeToo Movement

Are we going for retribution or transformation?

January 1, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

In the last two weeks, there has been a great deal of controversy and commentary on recent comments from the actor Matt Damon about the #MeToo movement. This has ranged from substantive critiques to complaints that the problem is that he, as a man, is speaking at all. There has even been a petition to remove him from the movie Ocean’s 8.

Some of Damon’s most quoted remarks (here in context) include: “I think we’re in this watershed moment. I think it’s great. I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories, and it’s totally necessary.… I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure—you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?... We’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think. And we live in this culture of outrage and injury, and, you know, that we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, ‘Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.’” 

He went on to talk about a couple of different cases on this “spectrum” where, for criminal charges, there should be prison time, but for lesser crimes, there would have to be transformation, “reflection and dialogue and some reconciliation.”

Are these statements basically right or wrong? They are basically right. Not just in talking about the way we ought to approach different cases in terms of punishment, but by pointing correctly to a negative trend that has emerged from the #MeToo movement. And this is something that is vital to get right if this movement is going to go forward on a positive basis. We need to get to a world free of all forms of exploitation and oppression, all the underlying economic and political structures and relations that give rise to them, and all the ideas based on—and reinforcing—those structures. But to even have a chance of getting there, we need to get right how we’re fighting right now, today, for changes. I want to focus here on three questions concentrated in this controversy over Damon’s remarks.

1. Are we going for retribution or transformation?

In response to Damon, actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted a thread about how it’s “the micro that makes the macro.” She compared sexual assault to cancer: there may be different degrees but it is all still cancer. She explained: “I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt. And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted—even welcomed—misogyny.”

She upheld the “culture of outrage” in a way that could lead to justifying the aspect of retribution that Damon was criticizing. She said: “Sexual harassment, misconduct, assault and violence is a systemic disease. The tumor is being cut out right now with no anesthesia. Please send flowers.” Alyssa Milano should pursue her metaphor. In the history of breast cancer, radical mastectomies were once the one and only treatment known. When cancers returned after the surgery, as they often did, the doctors concluded that they had not cut deeply enough. So they operated again, cutting out even more, and often crippling the women so treated without preventing recurrence. It was only when medicine identified a genetic component to certain breast cancers—that is, it was only when the underlying causes were correctly understood—that a more effective treatment could be designed. If we allow this moment and this movement to be reduced to targeting of individuals and if no distinctions are made between them while the actual underlying and truly systemic causes are ignored and the institutional factors are untouched, a few tumors may be removed—along with some healthy tissue—but after the initial surgery the cancer will surely return.

Given the ways our whole world is saturated and shaped by this kind of misogyny, do we think we can or should try to punish our way out of this? For men—who have maybe never considered or understood the depth of the horrors visited on women—what is the kind of debate and struggle needed for real transformation? What kind of broad debate and struggle has to go on for men and, yes, for many women, to recognize the swamp we’re all swimming in and shaped by? To really recognize and uproot all the ways women are viewed—and frankly, view themselves—as less than fully human? The depth of enforced gender roles, the way degradation has embedded itself into our most intimate relations, the way women have been trained to view themselves as commodities... all this flows from a system and needs to be put back at the feet of the system—not by some kind of individualized bloodlust that actually lets the system off the hook.  

Without overturning that essential point here, there is something important that Milano was speaking to: the ways in which women are forced to walk through the world surrounded and assaulted at every turn—on the street, in the workplace and in their most intimate spaces. Let us also add in the culture as a whole (including in the way it is saturated with porn, a point way too little noted in today’s movement), and in the family. The abuse, harassment and worse now being righteously called out is systemically intertwined with the larger system of patriarchy, which is not just a curse word but a system of subjugation that arose with the division of society into classes and is now completely interwoven with the system of capitalism-imperialism.  

The widespread and ubiquitous character of this is something that men in this society do not spontaneously understand or appreciate, and are trained to be blind to. The institutional character of it is not spontaneously understood by anyone, and one of the original strengths of this movement in drawing out and focusing on that institutional role and complicity is now in danger of being lost.

Damon himself has clearly been learning a great deal through this outpouring. Later in the same interview with him, he talks about how surprised he has been at how widespread sexual assault is. He said, “I think one of the surprising things for me has been the extent to which my female friends, as, I think, of all the ones I’ve talked to in the last year since all this stuff started happening—I can’t think of any of them who don’t have a story at some point in their life. And most of them have more than one.”

In addition, it’s clear that Damon doesn’t fully understand the ways in which all men are brought up to regard and treat all women, and the way in which all women are oppressed by this. But again, there is inculcated and enforced ignorance about this which comes from and is shaped by this system and prevailing culture. What is needed is serious and principled struggle about all this.

A recent revcom.us article, “The #MeToo Movement: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize,” made the following point: 

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

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

There is a great deal worth grappling with about this—the reality and implications of this contradiction.

2. Do men have a right and responsibility to speak or should they just shut up and listen?

Another major avenue of criticism towards Matt Damon has been that as a man, he shouldn’t be speaking out about this at all. That right now, he should just “shut up and listen.” But this is wrong and will lead us to a very bad place.

A critical point of epistemology: Truth is not determined by the identity of the speaker; truth is determined by evidence. 

First, we should listen to and learn from the flood of stories pouring forth from women. And much more of this needs to happen, even as it has to be increasingly directed at the system and culture that is the source of all this. But while most allegations ARE true and while every woman DOES have a story or more to tell, not every single allegation is true. There are too many painful cases to recount, including the “Scottsboro Boys” 1 and countless lynchings of Black men that took place based on accusations of rape. There are cases in the present day of accusations made that later turned out to be false, including against the Duke University men’s lacrosse team, the story about the University of Virginia printed in Rolling Stone, or even cases of mistaken identification.

Every woman should be listened to and taken seriously, but in evaluating truth we have to go for the evidence. 

But there is another, deeper dimension to this. Getting to the truth about the deep societal causes of this and the kinds of changes that must be made to end it, is a question independent of the gender or social position of the speaker and one in which all people who want to see this ended should be participating, with all they can bring to it.

If we think and act based on the false idea that the “truth resides in the speaker,” this will ultimately enforce a society in which “might makes right.” With that criterion, the speaker with the most power will be able to define and dictate what is accepted as true. Here it’s worth thinking about why the Trump/Pence regime is so determined to obliterate the basic concepts of objective reality and evidence-based and science-based truths (words his regime is going so far as to ban from government budgets, documents, etc.). Think about how the fascist movement it is bringing forward is trained to view the truth as what corresponds to and reinforces their feelings—feelings, in this case, rooted in the white supremacy, misogyny, and America Über Alles chauvinism drummed into people in this country from the day they’re born.

If people don’t agree with the content of Matt Damon’s argument, they should argue it out on that basis. And while it’s true that too often men have dismissed women, don’t listen to or hear women, condescend to them, the charge of “mansplaining”—which has been hurled at Damon incessantly—sidesteps and obfuscates the essential question: Is the problem the content of someone’s argument or the gender of the person making it? 

3. A dangerous trend: the erasure of works

As I noted at the beginning of this letter, the outrage against Matt Damon now includes a petition, signed by over 20,000 people, demanding that he be edited out of the upcoming film, Ocean’s 8 (made this time with a mainly female cast) because to keep him in “would trivialize the serious nature of the charges against sexual abusers...”

This points to a very ugly phenomenon: people’s work being erased on the basis of accusations or, in Damon’s case, a call to do this on the basis of disagreements with what he said and/or unproven allegations about what he knew or didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein. What was the effect of the boycott launched against the film The Birth of a Nation due to accusations of rape against director Nate Parker—for which he was tried in court and legally acquitted—earlier in his life? A significant, and unique, film about an armed slave rebellion went almost unseen, and this was celebrated and encouraged by far too many people who should’ve known better! 

What happens when a standard is established in which a work is not only not judged on its merit, due to alleged transgressions of its author, but is effectively not even allowed to get a hearing—no matter the content of the work? 

This is happening to the actor Kevin Spacey and others on the basis, again, of allegations. Here, Matt Damon was terribly wrong in the same interview with him when he upheld the decision to scrub Spacey out of an upcoming film, basing this on financial reasons: that this was “smart, from a business perspective.” Tailing behind what is popular at any moment, with commercial success as the ultimate determinant, will lead to a terrible place. Generally speaking, this system fosters and encourages wrong thinking among people, then uses that to justify what amounts to censorship based on public opinion which they’ve created. This is the logic of complicity with blacklists.

The righteous anger unleashed in these past few months must continue and go forward—but that requires standards and principles that reflect the world humanity needs and that do not fall into mirror-opposite examples of the same methods that keep us in this spot.

 

1. The Scottsboro Boys were nine Black teenagers, ages 13 to 19, accused in Alabama of raping two white women on a train in 1931. They were found guilty twice by all-white juries, but the case was taken to the Supreme Court. They were innocent, but collectively spent years in prison in a brutal injustice. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/interview-puerto-rican-woman-hurricane-maria-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Interview with Puerto Rican woman who went through Hurricane Maria:

“It was like ‘Alien vs. Predator’—right here, right in your backyard!”

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution had an opportunity recently to speak with a young Puerto Rican woman in her mid-20s who went through Hurricane Maria in September. Ana was born in New York City but had been to Puerto Rico many times as a youth to visit her grandparents and other relatives. She finally moved there in 2015. She was single, got an apartment, and a job working at a “5-star hotel” in a town on the beach, about a half-hour drive from San Juan, the capital.

On September 6 a string of small northern Caribbean islands, and then Puerto Rico, were hammered by Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. In fact, only three Category 5 hurricanes had ever hit the U.S. At least three people died, and power was cut to 900,000 of the island’s 3.4 million people. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico two weeks later. The hotel where Ana worked had been shut down and evacuated before Irma hit. It opened up 4-5 days later and began to take guests, but within days Maria came and again everyone was evacuated. The following is from our conversation with Ana.

As Hurricane Maria approached:

“We took all the measures we had to take. My apartment was on the water so I had to evacuate. So once we got word Maria was gonna hit, I went to stay with my grandparents, who live in the same town but away from the water. I thought we were gonna get like ‘crazy’ rain, like Hurricane Harvey, cause we were Category 5, Harvey was Category 4.”

What was the storm itself like?

“My grandmother’s area didn’t get hit the worst. We lived in a very touristy town; the houses there are mostly concrete. I was lucky that we didn’t have to be up to deal with it so… I’m gonna be honest—I was sleeping. It woke me up around 3 am. I kid you not, it was like ‘Alien vs. Predator,’ right here, right in your backyard! We had the shutters closed over the windows, all over the house. It sounded like they wanted to come IN to the house. And then the thunder started. I was scared to wake up; you know, to wake up fully and to go and see. Well, first of all you have all the shutters covering the windows, so you can’t see out. But, I was just nervous. I thought the shutters were gonna come in, the whole windows were gonna come in, so I forced myself to go back to sleep. I prayed a lot. I’m not gonna lie—I prayed so much. I just kept trying to sleep as long as possible. Because I knew I was gonna wake up to this whole thing.”

“I finally woke up and went outside...”

“My car, and my grandfather’s car, were full of weeds. My car was full-up green. Inside! And all over the street and driveways was ‘zinc’ [the tin panels blown off house roofs]. My uncle’s car parked across the street was fucked up because it got hit by the zinc. When I went outside it was still raining but not that crazy, you could just see the water rising, rising, and I started to freak out a little bit because I saw what happened in Texas with Hurricane Harvey, I didn’t know if it would keep going, because now we have no power. You can’t use your phone. You don’t know what’s happening.

“It was just a hard time. Even though we had a portable [camping] stove—my grandfather’s a fisherman in Puerto Rico—and we had running water the whole time; but there’s no power. At night we had a gas lantern. But when they run out of gas, there’s no place to get more. And you know, the supermarkets, the lines. You had to wait like three hours. You go and there’s no bread. No water. No little canned sausages. So that was a big pain in the ass!”

“I got in my car...”

“The minute I got beyond the town, it was so bad. The palm trees, the most beautiful thing about Puerto Rico, were all split in half. The light poles were in half. We’re talking about concrete, cement light poles. All the power lines were down, and in the water, very dangerous. And they didn’t just have power people out there working on them. I could not get into my apartment for three days, because the water came up, the ocean came up.

“I went as far as San Juan. I’d made a flight out to Nashville to visit my girlfriend a month before the hurricane. I heard a lot about the airports being crowded, with hundreds and hundreds of people trying to get out. I had to go to see if my flight was still going out on the 29th, because I couldn’t call. On the way there, you could see lines and lines of people at the gas stations. I’m talking about hundreds of people in cars, some people on foot with gas cans, on to the highway, backed up. The thing is, you wait in those lines, but you don’t know if the gas truck is coming. You’re just there thinking, hoping, like, OK, I’m here four hours, five hours, 10 hours. And then you go back another day.

“It was heartbreaking at the airport. I’ve never seen so much luggage in my life. It was like the number of people you see in Times Square, that’s how many people were at the airport. It’s just crazy. Babies crying, elderly people sitting on the floor, waiting. Because that’s what you do, you just wait to get a flight out. Mind you, there’s only like five flights out a day, at most, because there are the military coming in, deliveries of food.

“The airline confirmed my flight so I was excited, thinking I was getting out. Little did I know the government set a curfew on the country, and you had to be home by 10 pm. They see you on the street, they give you a ticket. My flight was scheduled to leave at 2 am. So I was unable to get my flight; I was stuck like the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans that were still stuck.”

Making Contact with Family on the Mainland

“Seven days later, on the 27th—there were these condos that they half built, but then they stopped building them. You see that a lot in Puerto Rico, the businesses, they have ideas of building condos, and then the money gets cut. You get up there, and you’re hanging out the windows trying to find a satellite to connect your phone. I was out there for about 25 minutes, and I wanted to scream. Because all I wanted to do was call my mom and tell her my grandparents were okay. But I couldn’t get a signal. But somehow my aunt got contact with someone who knew someone who knew my grandparents, so they found out we were OK.

“My grandparents were ‘immigrants’ because they believed in the American dream at that time. You move, and the U.S., it’s a lot different than Puerto Rico. It’s very different. Even though we’re a commonwealth, we don’t feel common. We don’t feel the same. We don’t feel respected. It’s very Americanized in Puerto Rico, with all the American businesses. The small mom and pop places, you don’t see that any more. If I take you to Puerto Rico I’m going to take you to where the culture is at, but I’m not going to take you to San Juan.

“The problem is, the media, you have some people say, ‘Oh, it’s rebuilding, it’s good.’ But then, have you been inside the areas where there’s nothing? I’ve seen San Juan, open for business. Tourism is coming in. We have all of the hotels in San Juan are open. But what happens to someone with a house in the middle of the mountains, and still can’t get out, because the roads are blocked?

“I did not cry, though I’m an emotional person. I don’t know if I was in shock. If I didn’t want to believe what just happened? My whole life just got, you know, transformed. But I didn’t cry until I woke up on October 6. I packed my stuff, got on the plane, I got off at JFK, I saw my best friend—I never broke down so much. Oh my god, I just left home. [Ana begins to cry] I’ve left everything. I had to leave my friends. I was just in denial. I was so, so sad. The whole cab ride, I was crying, crying, crying.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/525/awtwns-protests-shake-iran-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 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 #526 January 15, 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 #526 January 15, 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.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/awtwns-peru-a-criminal-pardon-for-murder-in-chief-fujimori-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 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/526/protest-on-martin-luther-king-day-2018-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

On Martin Luther King Day, People Across the Country Step Out and Stand Up Against Racism and the Attacks on Immigrants

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

New York

More than 1,500 immigrants largely from Haiti but also Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as well as from Africa rallied in Times Square on MLK Day. The rally was organized largely by SEIU local 1199 and the UAW. Union organizers spoke, along with a number of local politicians, including Mayor de Blasio, condemning Trump’s latest disgusting attacks on immigrants.

The high point of the day was the march of over 500 Haitian immigrants and Haitian Americans to New York City’s number one Shithole—Trump Tower. The march was spirited, it was angry, it was rhythmic, and it was beautiful. The night air was filled at times with resounding chants: “FUCK YOU TRUMP!” and “Haitians Are Here to Stay!” There was a sense that people felt this was the last straw. That in the face of Trump’s latest white-supremacist outrage—and threat—the people have had enough. Someone described it as: “You fucked with the wrong people!” There was pride and determination—Haitians standing up and liberating themselves and their humanity from the filth that the Shithole-in-Chief had hurled on them

One woman on the march told Revolution, “I’m just like everybody else here. I’ve been here too long, and I’m not gonna take it no more!” And then her partner added, “White supremacist ideology has to die in order for humanity to live.”

 

About 250 people marched in Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, a community with people from Asia, the Middle East and Africa, in a "March against Racism, Poverty and Militarism"

 

 

 

San Francisco

Thousands in San Francisco said No to Racism on MLK Day. There were a number of marches elsewhere in the Bay Area as well.

 

 

 

Seattle

 

Los Angeles

Below, a spirited "Time's Up" contingent

Refuse Fascism had distributed posters along the route when we came by with Revolution newspaper and this enlargement of the recom.us meme of the biggest shithole in the world. This woman quickly organized the kids to hold up their posters for pictures for Facebook. All along the route, many took pictures of it, took the newspaper and donated.

 

 

 

Atlanta

 

 

Houston

"Stop Racist Laws" contingent in the Houston MLK march.

All photos and videos: Special to revcom.us

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/take-revolution-and-communism-to-the-womens-marches-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Take Revolution and Communism to the Women’s Marches This Weekend

January 17, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Tens of thousands of women and men will hit the streets this Saturday on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. They will be protesting the outrages of the past year, fighting back and searching for answers and ways forward. Those protesting need to know not only about the urgent need to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime (and they DO need to know about that) ... they also need to know about the new communism and Bob Avakian, the leader who brought that forward.

It will be important for there to be banners with the slogan “Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for REVOLUTION” emblazoned on them, with big bold REVCOM.US signature ... for hundreds and thousands of copies of REVOLUTION newspaper to get out, and for money to be raised to pay for them ... and for there to be posters available of some of the best memes on revcom, especially those pertaining to the Trump/Pence regime—posters that people display and that can also be given to others. Get out copies of the sampler of Break ALL the Chains!: Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution.

As part of this effort, quotes from page 14 and page 15 of this month’s print issue of REVOLUTION should be made into large poster displays and carried through the crowd.  Click these links for enlargeable 22"x17" PDF versions of the quotes from these pages:

Be part of flooding the streets in protest, and be part of taking revolution into that flood. And when it’s all over, be part of summing it up—send pics and info (send to revolution.reports@yahoo.com)—and letting the world know what happened!

Revcom

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/check-it-out-ai-weiwei-human-flow-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Check it Out: Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow

January 17, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

(Available now for viewing online)

Filmed in 23 countries over two years the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei brings to the big screen the immense human scale of the worldwide refugee crisis.  Sixty-five million people at the time the film was made, are fleeing war, ethnic cleansing, environmental catastrophe, and that number is rising.  The film begins photographed from the air as a raft, floating through the blue of the Mediterranean sea and then crashes to earth, in a hand held camera moment of people tumbling wet, hungry, and shaken from dangerously overcrowded rafts.  Their sense of relief turns to a 60-day walk across Europe and a journey into statelessness, razor wire, rain, misery, loss, and the shelter of tents, makeshift camps, cubicles built in airport hangers and finally, for those turned away, expulsion into the permanent camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon where the average stay for a refugee is 26 years.

The film began in 2015 when Ai Weiwei was finally granted a passport.  In 2009 he was arrested and beaten and held for 81 days for creating art that put the names and faces of the over 5,000 school children who died in the Sichuan earthquake, mourning their loss and giving an international platform to the parents who were protesting shoddy government construction in a region where 7,000 classrooms collapsed.  After a four-year battle he was granted a passport and just happened to be on the Greek island of Lesbos at the start of what would become the exodus of a half million people.

Interviewed by Canadian TV, Ai Weiwei spoke to why he made this film, “It’s very hard not to act in such a crisis. As an artist you have to find your own way and your own language to respond to the situation. I always have to try and find a language to build up this kind of communication between people who are desperate and have no chance for their voice to be heard and then the people who are privileged and think this has nothing to do with our real life and turn their faces away. So as artist I always have to make this kind of argument and find a language to present my ideas.” (CBC News, September 27, 2017)

The film’s aerial photography gives witness to the destruction of Mosul by the U.S. in Iraq, to the journey of the Rohingya from Myanmar walking across the fields and rivers of Bangladesh, to sub-Saharan Africa where 26 percent of the world’s refugees are presently located, to the vast network of permanent camps stretching across the Middle East, and finally to the open-air prison of Gaza and the U.S.-Mexican border.  On the ground Ai Weiwei gives voice to the people living through this and to their hopes and their dignified determination to be treated as human beings.  Last year in New York City he premiered an installation where the middle class clothes of the Syrian refugees that were collected from the belongings left on the shores of Lesbos, were washed, dried, ironed, displayed, and preserved for New Yorkers to experience the obvious connections to life they recognize in their own city.

Ai Weiwei’s humanitarian vision has implicit criticism of the West. His work is not intended to offer causes or solutions but this crisis is examined with an ability to show his audience the magnitude and scale of what is taking place in a very short period of time as well as an intimate look at what it is like to be someone living through this. As a reviewer in England put it—it sits like a cannon ball on your heart.

As someone watching this with Bob Avakian’s words “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First” ringing in my ears it rips you away from the 24-hour news cycle where events of such magnitude are quickly buried—allowing you to take in the ramifications of a world where the whole post-World War II world is unraveling, where the crimes of what your country is doing to the planet and the scale of human misery it is creating are brought home. This film is witness to a few short years from 2015 to 2017, only a few of the opening pages of what climate change and the unending wars for U.S. and its Western allies’ domination of the world have already wrought.

A crisis of this magnitude, a crisis as existential as this cannot be understood much less solved without another kind of lens that zooms in and zooms out being used.  Ai Weiwei went from being the darling of those who tore down the Cultural Revolution and restored capitalism in China to being a public enemy because he persisted in honestly examining what capitalism was doing to China. People who truly want to stand with the people also have the responsibility to look squarely at the system that is causing this, and both the reality and the morality of persisting with such a moribund way of life, when that system and that way of life is not just holding humanity back but threatening its very existence. This too often goes unexamined because the first wave of communist revolutions has been dismissed and put aside—leaving people to see no other option when there is another way the world COULD be. There is no one else—anywhere on this planet—who has done the work that Bob Avakian has done on this, no one else who has laid the basis in theory and in strategy for a whole new wave of revolution to transform the world towards the goal of eliminating all exploitation and oppression. Watching this film makes you appreciate through the eyes of an artist like Ai Weiwei just what we have in a communist leader like Bob Avakian. It makes you feel both the imperative and the reality that this cannonball COULD be and MUST be lifted from the hearts of humankind.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/RBNYC-solidarity-with-people-from-shithole-countries-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Revolution Books:

Evening in Solidarity with People from “Shithole Countries” Gives Voice to Hopes and Possibilities for a Whole Different World

January 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Staff of Revolution Books, NYC:

On January 11, Donald Trump called Haiti, El Salvador and the entire continent of Africa “shithole countries.” We knew that Revolution Books, as the bookstore where the whole world comes first … as the place that opens the door to a radically different world … had to host a beautiful, stirring and challenging response. And it needed to be NOW, before the world moved on to the next bloody outrage sure to come from a fascist regime igniting and legitimizing genocidal measures. 

So, with two days’ notice, we invited artists, people of conscience, the Revolution Books community and beyond:

An evening of readings, performance, and solidarity with people from countries Trump calls “shitholes”

No to White Supremacy
No to Empire
No to the Shithole-in-Chief Trump

And on Monday night, January 15, Revolution Books filled up and it was on. Battle cries, lived history, love poems, and song from around the world poured from the stage and captured the room. 

Forty people came from Harlem, the Bronx and beyond—professionals, students, educators; RefuseFascism activists and national leaders in New York for their current national organizing tour. The evening’s hosts were Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Vietnam War refuser, and co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org, and At-ta, member of the Revolution Club. Kia Corthron, award-winning playwright and novelist, author of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, and members of the Revolution Books volunteer staff and the Revolution Club introduced and read powerful works of artists from Haiti, Puerto Rico, Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina, Palestine, and more. 

Early on, the audience saw a film of Bob Avakian delivering his biting piece, “Why Do People Come Here from All Over the World?“ Why? BA says, “Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country” … and then draws the thread of centuries of empire driving people from far corners of the globe to live next door to each other in the cities and towns here, not even knowing each other’s common history. It was powerful to hear this at Revolution Books, with people and voices bringing vibrant culture and experience of the hell of American empire from around the world. And in this moment, feeling together the possibilities for a world that will appreciate and foster, and not denigrate and destroy, the amazing diversity and human potential that could be.

Film was also played of Yaa Gyasi reading at Rev Books from her novel Homegoing and of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, the extraordinary Kenyan scholar, novelist and former political prisoner, reading at Revolution Books’ one-year anniversary in Harlem in 2016. Members of the Revolution Club performed a beautiful cover of the Outernational song “Que Tenemos Nada, Que Queremos Todo El Mundo (We Have Nothing, We Want the Whole World).”

Other artists whose work was read included Ghanian poet Atukwei Okai and John Pepper (JP) Clark from Nigeria. Carl Dix read from Edwidge Danticat’s novel The Dew Breaker about torture in Haiti and its reverberations through the Haitian diaspora in the U.S., and he read from Edwidge’s comments about the current moment, describing the courageous history of the Haitian people and how, “If we are a poor country, then our poverty comes in part from pillage and plunder.” We felt just a small part of the beautiful and vast contributions to human knowledge in many spheres from these so-called “shithole” countries this evening.

Novelist Kia Corthron read from Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia in 2015 for apostasy (the so-called “sin” of rejecting religious faith). After an international outcry, the death sentence was reduced to an eight-year prison term with 800 lashes. Kia read Fayadh’s first poem written in prison, “Tense Times,” penned after his father had died, believed by the family to have suffered fatal grief over Ashraf’s death sentence and imprisonment.

The celebrated poet Martín Espada, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award recipient, sent us his greetings for the evening and his deep verse of outrage and imagination, “Not for Him the Fiery Lake of the False Prophet,” which narrates the brutal 2016 Trump-inspired attack in Boston on homeless immigrant Guillermo Rodriguez and then “leaps,” as the Revolution Club reader later commented, to the beautiful and urgent envisioning of beating down walls and borders built on the blood and bones of the people of the Global South. 

Another Revolution Club member read “No Te Salves (Do Not Save Yourself)” by the beloved Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti in Spanish and told the audience in English how this love poem and challenge, “If you want to save yourself, then do not stay with me,” resonates today.

By the end of the evening, the lyrics from “Que Tenemos Nada, Que Queremos Todo El Mundo” were alive; “the ones you don’t see” and hopes and possibility for a whole different world given voice and urgency:

 

Cook, clean, make, slave, who feeds whom? 

Dirty pretty things who are you? 

The ones you don’t see, the fact to your truth 

The ones you don’t see, the ones you don’t see 

Que tenemos nada, que queremos todo el mundo 

Que tenemos nada, que queremos todo el mundo 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/suicidal-to-rely-on-democrats-to-fight-for-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Why It Is Suicidal To Rely On the Democrats To Fight For Immigrants

January 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The Democrats claim to be the champions of the immigrants while they hinge everything on how much they will concede to Trump, while the persecution of immigrants and their leaders becomes more blatant, intimidating, and unapologetic every day.  They are more concerned with working out a deal with fascists who get more aggressive and open about it every day than they are about actually defending in the concrete the masses of people suffering this.  Their “deals” will go in the familiar pattern called out by Bob Avakian years ago in “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer.”

Ask yourself: who backed NAFTA, which further distorted Mexican agriculture and drove more than a million off the land ... with nowhere to go?  Who backed other measures of globalization, which had similar effects?  Who backed Bush in the Iraq War and who undertook their own wars in the Middle East, which further drove people into exile?  Who backed the War on Drugs, which in turn gave rise to the explosive growth of gangsterism throughout the hemisphere—including its integration into the state and the horrific violence among the masses that arose in its wake?  Who, in fact, deported the most people of any administration, even if they did it out of sight and on the down-low?  Who militarized the border just as much if not more than the fascists?  If you answered the Clintons, Obama, and the congressional Democratic leadership to the above questions, you would be right.

The Democrats differ with the fascists over how best to exploit, control, and—when they deem it necessary—drive out the immigrants, and not whether to exploit and control them.  They will make whatever compromises they think serve their larger interests—which at the end of the day is the preservation of the capitalist-imperialist system which they share with the fascists, even as they differ (sometimes sharply) over how.  They pose as friends and call for some reforms in large part to try to control and derail battles waged by immigrants, and other groups fighting oppression; they will not hesitate to sacrifice those fights when they see it is in conflict with what they deem to be “larger” interests.  Even now, we hear talk of going along with Trump’s demands for the sake of the elections for the Senate and for the House of Representatives in “the Republican states.”

“Realistic action” on this right now is not busying yourself with registering people to vote and raising money for candidates.  “Realistic action” is thousands, then millions, of native-born Americans and citizens—including especially white people—putting something on the line to stand with the immigrants, in demonstrations and other forms of solidarity.  Without this, the juggernaut will roll on relentlessly.  “Realistic action” is drawing the links between this and the need to drive out this whole fascist regime, as soon as possible, by bringing forward and mobilizing an aroused people at least more determined than the fascists and racists who have been marshaled by Trump and Pence.

Even more “realistic”—in the sense of actually dealing with reality, as it is and as it could be—is this: asking yourself whether a world divided into a handful of nations that fight among each other over how to divide and plunder the planet and the vast majority of humanity that is exploited, uprooted, driven from home and all they know, and then persecuted and exploited again is the best we can do.  In fact, what we have today, with all the horrors bound up in a world where hundreds of millions are uprooted and persecuted in search of survival, is NOT the only possible way that humanity can organize itself.  There is a blueprint for a totally different world embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and there is a body of work and method and approach brought forward by Bob Avakian that gets into the reasons behind that Constitution and the path forward for humanity.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018


Warning: file_get_contents(../a/465/other-voices-on-trump-resistance-en.html#threecoaches): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/revweb/public_html/quick/526en.php on line 157

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/526/january-20-emancipation-of-women-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

January 20, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

One year after the inauguration of Trump/Pence, people took to the streets again for Women’s Marches in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and around the world. In the slide show on this page, we are presenting just a sampling of pictures of protesters who were out in the streets from the largest cities in the U.S. to the smallest. Over 500,000 marched in Los Angeles; 125,000 in New York City; 300,000 in Chicago, and tens of thousands in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, DC., and Denver, Colorado. And people in hundreds and thousands marched in, just to name some of the other smaller cities, Juneau, Alaska; Riverside, Sacramento, Orange County, and San Jose, California; Augusta, Georgia; Iowa City, Iowa; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Annapolis, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Morristown, New Jersey; Albany and Seneca Falls, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Tulsa, Oklahoma; State College, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Sioux City, South Dakota; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin and Ft. Worth, Texas; Richmond, Virginia; Bellingham, Washington...and others too many to name.

  • New York, New York.

  • Los Angeles, California. Credit: Twitter/@Rshehee

  • Madrid, Spain. Credit: Twitter/#womensmarch

  • Los Angeles, California. Credit: Twitter/@baby_boomster

  • Boston, Massachusetts. Credit: Twitter/@_redheadmeg

  • Kolkata, India. Credit: Twitter/#womensmarch

  • New York City, New York. Credit: Special to revcom.us

  • Seneca Falls, New York. Special to revcom.us

  • Los Angeles, Revolution Club. Credit: Special to revcom.us

  • Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Twitter/#womensmarch

  • Asheville, North Carolina. Credit: Twitter/@EdKrassen

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Credit: Twitter/@USseriously

  • Houston, Texas. Credit: Special to revcom.us

  • Los Angeles, California. Credit: Twitter/@refusefascismLA

  • Washington, DC. Credit: Twitter/@gimomma65

  • Austin, Texas. Credit: Twitter/@sirbabsalot

  • Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Revolution Club organized a speakout on the spot. Credit: Special to revcom.us

  • San Francisco Bay Area. Credit: Revolution Books Berkeley Instagram

  • New York, NY

  • San Francisco, California. Credit: Special to revcom.us

  • Indianapolis, Indiana. Credit: Twitter/@warvvely

  • Albany, New York. Credit: Twitter/@michaelOstevens

  • Greenville, South Carolina. Credit: Twitter/@Teddifish

  • San Francisco, California. Credit: Special to revcom.us

There were a wide range of signs, calling out Trump and the regime on their attacks on women as well as on immigrants, Black people, and others. In a number of cities, revcom.us banners with “Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution” attracted the attention of many people. Some of the signs carried by people, to give a very small sample: “Our Rights Are Not Up for Grabs, Neither Are We”; “Public Cervix Announcement: Fuck You”; “I’m Not Mindlessly Marching to the Polls, I’m Fighting for Real Change”; “Get the White ’Hole Out of the Shithouse”; “Terrible Racist Unfit Misogynist Pussy-grabber” (with the initial capital letters highlighted); “Destroy the Patriarchy, Not the Planet”; “Mother Earth Says #MeToo.”

The marches last year were an expression of people’s deep horror at what Trump and his whole regime would bring down on women and broad sections of people here and around the world. In this urgent situation, the outpouring on the streets today is welcome—and a glimpse of the importance and potential for millions to take to the streets and resist. The energy and creativity of people in denouncing Trump and the whole regime are being expressed in thousands of ways.

The last year has shown even more clearly how sharp and dire a threat the Trump/Pence regime is to humanity. This regime is working furiously to lock down a fascist form of rule in the U.S. It is preparing to bring down even greater horrors that could well mean the end of humanity and that would, in any case, foreclose the possibility for any change for the better for a long time to come.

Let’s go forward, in the name of humanity, to build a massive movement united and acting on the demand that “NO! This Nightmare Must End. We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

And we invite everyone to get into the works on this page from Bob Avakian, BA, on the source of the oppression of women, and how this oppression must and can be uprooted and eliminated as part of an all-around revolution.

BA has brought forward a new synthesis of communism that analyzes the truth as it is, digs deep into the underlying dynamics and patterns, and applies this, as he has said, “to reality in general and in particular the revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression and advance to a communist world.” Nobody else has done the work Bob Avakian has done in further developing the theory on the “crucial role—and the even further heightened role in today’s world—of the struggle for the emancipation of women and its relation to the proletarian revolution and its goal of emancipating all humanity through the advance to a communist world” (from “The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements—An Outline”).


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

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

Bob Avakian
Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution

A Question of Basic Stand and Orientation

By Bob Avakian

SUPPORT AND SPREAD
THE FURY AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

“Can This System Do Away With, or Do Without, The Oppression of Women?—
A Fundamental Question,
a Scientific Approach to the Answer”

by Bob Avakian

Through which mode of production will any social problem be addressed?

That is the most fundamental question that must be asked, in regard to changes in society. And the answer to that question will be decisive in determining what must be done to bring about the changes that are understood to be necessary and desirable. Why? Because the mode of production—the basic economic relations and the basic dynamics of the economic system—is the decisive factor in determining what the character of a society, and its dominant social relations, politics, and ideology, will be.

To apply this to the particular question of whether this capitalist-imperialist system can do away with, or do without, the oppression of women, it is necessary to pose, and answer, some essential questions that need to be addressed in determining this, including:

How, under this system and given its fundamental relations and dynamics, would the role of women in childbirth and the rearing of children, the character and role of the family, and the system of commodity production and exchange that characterizes capitalism—how would all this, and the many direct and indirect expressions and manifestations of this in the superstructure of politics and ideology, be radically transformed in a way that would lead to abolishing the oppression of women?

How would the putrid social relations and culture that dominate in this society—which oppress and degrade women in a thousand ways, including the most vicious and violent—be actually transformed, within the confines of this system, in a way that would contribute to doing away with all the oppression and degradation of women?

How would all this be achieved, not only within a particular country, such as the U.S.—and not just for a section of people, particularly the more well-off and privileged—but for human society as a whole, on a global scale, especially given the highly globalized nature of this system, and its fundamental relations and dynamics?

There is much that has already been brought to light which demonstrates how the oppression of women has been historically, and today remains, completely and integrally bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited. At the same time, there is further analysis and synthesis that needs to be done—in regard to the situation of women in the world and how this relates today to the fundamental relations and dynamics of the dominant system in the world, capitalism-imperialism. But this needs to be taken up with a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach. And I am firmly convinced that such a scientific analysis and synthesis—including with regard to the basic questions that have been posed here—will reinforce, and further deepen, the fundamental understanding that it is impossible to achieve the emancipation of women under this system, and that this emancipation can only be fully and finally achieved through, and as a key part of, the revolutionary advance to communism throughout the world.

If someone wishes to argue that it could be possible to do away with the oppression of women under this capitalist-imperialist system, then let them make that argument, but that argument must include an answer to the kinds of essential questions I have posed here.

(Published in Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution)

Full edition | Sampler edition

See Table of Contents

Read full book (PDF)

Order online

Excerpt from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)

Authored by Bob Avakian

Adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Compare this Constitution—both the passage below and the entire document itself—with any other constitution on the planet! And after doing so, tell us why we should not fight for such a society.

Eradicating the Oppression of Women. (Article III. Section 3.)

The oppression of women emerged thousands of years ago in human history together with the splitting of society into exploiting and exploited classes, and this oppression is one of the cornerstones of all societies based on exploitation. For the same reason, the struggle to finally and fully uproot the oppression of women is of profound importance and will be a decisive driving force in carrying forward the revolution toward the final goal of communism, and the eradication of all exploitation and oppression, throughout the world. Based on this understanding, the New Socialist Republic in North America gives the highest priority not only to establishing and giving practical effect to full legal equality for women–and to basic rights and liberties that are essential for the emancipation of women, such as reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion as well as birth control–but also to the increasing, and increasingly unfettered, involvement of women, equally with men, in every sphere of society, and to propagating and popularizing the need for and importance of uprooting and overcoming all remaining expressions and manifestations of patriarchy and male supremacy, in the economic and social relations and in the realms of politics, ideology and culture, and to promote the objective of fully emancipating women and the pivotal role of the struggle for this emancipation in the overall transformation of this society and the world as a whole. This orientation, and policies and laws flowing from it, shall be applied, promoted, encouraged and supported with the full political, legal and moral force, authority and influence of the government, at all levels, in the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Share on social media

Share on social media

Share on social media

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/527/resisting-trump-attacks-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #526 January 15, 2018

Resisting Trump Regime Attacks on Immigrants: "This is no time for business as usual"

New Coverage March 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Urgently Needed—A BROAD Outpouring in Support of Immigrants!

January 22, 2018

In recent months, weeks, and now practically every day, our immigrant brothers and sisters have been going into the streets and into the halls of Congress, risking arrest and deportation to challenge "business as usual," and resist the most vicious, blatant, and criminal assault on the rights, the dignity, the humanity, and the very lives of immigrants in this country in their millions. All of those who are NOT immigrants must stand shoulder to shoulder with these courageous immigrants, pour into the streets and find every other possible way to actively refuse and stand up against this fascist regime's advancing assault on immigrants...

Read entire article

From RefuseFascism.org, A Letter to Chapters:

The Trump/Pence Ethnic Cleansing Attacks on Immigrants and Immigration: Qualitative, Comprehensive, and a Linchpin in Forging a Fascist America— The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

February 12, 2018

Read more

From RefuseFascism.org:

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MUSLIMS, THEN THEY CAME FOR THE IMMIGRANTS
Not This Time...
Stand Up Now with the Immigrants
This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

January 26, 2018

Read more

Chicago Clergy’s Protest Calls on People to “Stand with the Dreamers”

February 7, 2018

Chicago clergy rally for Dreamers

On Monday, February 5, in 1 degree weather, almost 100 clergy and members of faith communities and organizations gathered at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago to demand protection for the Dreamers. The call for the rally said, “100 clergy from across the Chicagoland area will join together to call on Congress to protect DREAMers. February 5th marks one month before the March 5th DACA deadline, after which, over 900 DREAMers will lose their protection from deportation and their ability to work in the U.S. every single day.”

Read more.

San Francisco: Protests Target ICE and Their Immigrant Round-Up Plans

February 5, 2018

Projection of “GESTAPO” on the ICE building in San Francisco, January 29

There have been recent reports in the press that ICE is preparing major raids in the San Francisco Bay Area, aimed at hunting down and deporting more than 1,500 immigrants. San Francisco is one of the sanctuary cities—and the Trump/Pence regime has been stepping up threats and moves against those cities and officials responsible for sanctuary policies. In response, Refuse Fascism, immigrant rights groups, religious forces, and others have been protesting at the ICE facility in San Francisco, including blockading the gates and projecting “GESTAPO” on the building.

Share on social media

West Los Angeles: Hundreds March for Dreamers and All Immigrants Under Attack

February 5, 2018

On Saturday, February 3, several hundred people rallied and marched in West Los Angeles in the Keep the Dream Act Alive March. This action called for “organizations [to] join forces and ask for the Dream Act, a permanent solution to protect the more than 800,000 immigrant youth protected by DACA. Every day without a clean Dream Act in Congress an estimated 122 DACA recipients lose their protection from deportation and their ability to work and drive legally in the United States. That’s 5 every hour and 851 every week. Millions have categorically rejected Trump’s ‘DACA Fix’ proposal which shamelessly uses young immigrants as the bargaining chips to get $25 billion for the border wall, more enforcement and deportations, destroys family unity, and ends diversity visas. We want a humane, moral, practical solution that protects young immigrants from being arrested, detained, and deported.”

Coming in the context of a serious, comprehensive, and escalating assault on immigrant people, this was a welcome action in West LA. There need to be many more of these actions all across the country! Overwhelmingly, those at the march were immigrants, and most of them were young—in their teens and 20s. Many others need to step out now to march and resist in many other ways to act together to stop the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on immigrants.

Read more

NYC March to Trump Building on Wall Street Denounces Attack on Haitians and Others: “Donald Trump, Donald Trump, When We’re Mad, We’re Not Playing”

January 20, 2018

Marching over the Brooklyn Bridge, January 19, 2018

 

January 19—Hundreds of people, overwhelmingly Haitian immigrants, marched for miles from central Brooklyn, across the Brooklyn Bridge, through lower Manhattan and to the Trump Building on Wall Street, in angry and spirited denunciation of Trump’s racist attack on Haiti and African countries as “shitholes.” In November last year, the Trump/Pence regime cancelled the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under which about 60,000 people from Haiti, many who came here after the devastating earthquake eight years ago, had been able to live and work in the United States.

There was a palpable sense of determination among the Haitians (and children of Haitian immigrants) in the march that Trump’s assault on them must not stand. Two young women—a Fordham University student and a pediatrician—both said that they were opposed to Trump before, but they took the “shithole” insult “personally” because of their family backgrounds and heritage. Many protesters brought out how the poverty and misery plaguing Haiti today have everything to do with the actual history of domination, invasions, predatory acts, and backing of oppressive regimes by the U.S. and other powers (see the revcom.us article that brings this history alive). And a major theme in the protest was the proud history of Haiti where the first and only successful slave revolution in history took place in 1804.

At points in the march, people broke into exuberant and deeply felt singing of lines in Creole that translate as “Donald Trump, Donald Trump, when we’re mad, we don’t play.” This was to a danceable beat provided by a group of musicians that joined the march with drums and homemade horns.

The organizers of the march, the 1804 Movement for All Immigrants, brought out the common fight of all immigrants and others against Trump. Among the 1804 Movement’s demands are “permanent US residency for all holders of TPS” (aside from Haitians, people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, among other countries, have had their TPS revoked or threatened) and “an end to all forms of racial profiling and police terror in the US, above all against black and brown people.” Among the chants was a call-and-response saying “Haitians, Mexicans…one fight, one struggle,” repeated with naming Salvadorans, Africans, etc. The rally at the Trump Building included Puerto Rican and Filipino activists and Carl Dix, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, along with Haitian activists.

 

Carl Dix speaks on January 19 during 1804 Movement for All Immigrants protest.  "These vile comments by Donald Trump calling countries around the world shitholes have a genocidal logic."

 

There was a strong presence of activists from Refuse Fascism (which is a part of the 1804 Movement coalition) in the march, with many in the march taking up “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and other Refuse Fascism chants. A Haitian woman artist came with a handmade poster showing a photo of a pig with the face of Trump and the words “Guess Who?” Later in the march, her sign had a sticker on it saying “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!”

On Martin Luther King Day 2018, more than 1,500 immigrants largely from Haiti but also Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as well as from Africa rallied in Times Square. The high point of the day was the march of over 500 Haitian immigrants and Haitian Americans to New York City’s number one Shithole—Trump Tower. The march was spirited, it was angry, it was rhythmic, and it was beautiful. The night air was filled at times with resounding chants: “FUCK YOU TRUMP!” and “Haitians Are Here to Stay!” There was a sense that people felt this was the last straw. That in the face of Trump’s latest white-supremacist outrage—and threat—the people have had enough. Someone described it as: “You fucked with the wrong people!” There was pride and determination—Haitians standing up and liberating themselves and their humanity from the filth that the Shithole-in-Chief had hurled on them.

Dozens of Jewish Clergy and Activists Arrested in Capital Protest for Dreamers

January 21, 2018

Washington, DC, January 17—More than 80 protesters, many of them Jewish clergy, were arrested in an action demanding protection for some 800,000 young immigrants covered under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). These immigrants, known as Dreamers, are under threat of deportation as soon as March because of the Trump/Pence regime’s cancellation of DACA.

Activists from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Anti-Defamation League, T'ruah and other Jewish organizations sat in concentric circles at the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in a civil disobedience protest, until they were arrested and moved away by police. The activists sang protest songs in Hebrew and English.

A statement from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism said in part: “This is no time for business as usual. In the Torah, we are called 36 different ways to love the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. We were strangers in the land of Egypt, and know what it means to be turned away from places we thought of as home.”

One of those arrested, Rabbi Sheldon Lewis from Palo Alto, California, said, ““We spoke up for compassion for the Dreamers, especially out of our own core values and experience. Caring for the marginalized is central for our people.”

Share on social media

 

ICE Van Blocked by Defiant Protest in LA

February 19, 2018

February 15—Immigrant rights protestors from several groups joined "Koreatown Popular Assembly" in protest of the ICE raids taking place throughout Los Angles, and the nation.

Refuse Fascism's Michelle Xai rallied the group just prior to the march and subsequent blocking of a Homeland Security van, keeping it from entering the Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, California USA.

Hundreds of Students Walk Out of Houston High School to Demand ICE Release Their Classmate

February 16, 2018

Several hundred students walked out of Stephen F. Austin High School in Houston, Texas, February 14, demanding that immigration authorities release Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a senior at their school, now in ICE detention.

Read more.

Immigrant Prisoners and Supporters at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma on Hunger Strike to Demand End to Inhumane Conditions

February 14, 2018

Immigrants inside ICE’s Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington, are on hunger strike—and people outside are also staging hunger strikes in support! This action is to stand against the ongoing extreme conditions of isolation, uncertainty, and injustice there against the immigrant prisoners. Those inside report they have been beaten and abused in attempts by authorities to stop the strike.

Read more

Hundreds Come Out to Support Sanctuary Movement Leader Ravi Ragbir

February 12, 2018

Read more

Lawsuit Demands an End to ICE Targeting of Immigrant Rights Movement Leaders

February 12, 2018

Read more

From a reader:

ICE to Use License Plates to Track Down Immigrants
"Never Again" Is Now!

February 5, 2018

Read more

Michael Slate Interview with Ravi Ragbir, Immigrant Activist Leader:
"There is a warfare against the immigrant community"

February 5, 2018

Read more

Hundreds Protest at U.S. Capitol to Demand “Clean” Dream Act

February 7, 2018

Protest in Capitol Building, Washington D.C., February 7  Credit: Twitter/@Altochulo

February 7—Hundreds of immigrants and others from different immigrant rights groups filled the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC in a civil disobedience action to demand a “clean” Dream Act—protection for young immigrants covered under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and for all immigrants. About 100 protesters were arrested. Trump’s cancellation of DACA threatens deportation of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented people (“Dreamers”), who were brought to the U.S. as children. The Trump/Pence regime is now dangling possible legalization for these immigrants years down the line, in return for the border wall and stepped-up immigration enforcement, which will further intensify repression against millions of undocumented and all immigrants—and Democratic leaders may agree to this “deal.” The demand for a clean Dream Act opposes such a reactionary “deal.” The protesters raised signs reading “OUR LIVES ARE IN DANGER. PASS THE DREAM ACT NOW.”

Share on social media

Tacoma, Washington: People's Tribunal Against Persecution of Immigrants

February 5, 2018

Tacoma Washington, February 4Photo: Refuse Fascism Seattle

On Sunday, February 4, there was a People’s Tribunal held at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. It was aimed at the ongoing persecution of immigrants carried out at this institution, with a related important issue at the forefront being the threatened deportation of local immigration activist Maru Mora-Villalpando.

About 200 to 300 people were there, some coming from as far away as Salem, Oregon, and Bellingham, Washington, including college students and other youths.

Read more

Harvard Students Protest Top Democrat for Making Immigration "Deal" with Republican-fascists

February 5, 2018

On February 1, around 100 Harvard University students protested against Dick Durbin, one of the top Democratic senators, when he spoke on the campus. Durbin was one of the Democrats who voted in December to end the government shutdown in return for a “promise” from the Republican leadership that the issue of protection for recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)—undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children—would be taken up at some point. Trump cancelled DACA last year, and hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” are under threat of deportation. Durbin is co-sponsoring with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham an immigration “reform” bill that would make DACA permanent in return for new attacks on immigrants, like eliminating the visa lottery, and limiting the ability of immigrants to sponsor family members for immigration to the U.S.

According to the Harvard Crimson, protesters carried signs like “We Are Not Your Bargaining Chip” and “The U.S. Government Has Never Protected Us,” and chanted slogans like, “Say it loud, say it clear—immigrants are welcome here!” Some demonstrators “infiltrated” the room where Durbin was speaking and held up protest signs as he spoke. The protest was co-sponsored by some 20 student organizations including Act on a Dream, the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association, and the Harvard College Democrats.

Houston DACA March to "Reclaim Our Humanity"

Houston DACA March to “Reclaim Our Humanity”

January 19—Tonight in Houston, 80 people marched through the streets of downtown chanting “Save DACA, No Deal!” and “¡Sin papeles, sin miedo!” (“Without papers, without fear”). The DACA March to Reclaim Our Humanity was organized by FIEL (Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha). DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was canceled by the Trump/Pence regime, putting 800,000 immigrants who were brought into the U.S. without documents at a young age (known as “Dreamers”) under threat of deportation.

Read more