Revolution #529, February 5, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/join-in-a-month-long-special-effort-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Calling all revcom readers and everyone who urgently wants to end the nightmare being put into place by the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Join in a month-long special effort to promote the talk and Q&A's from 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

Updated with new material February 6, 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.

What follows is a multi-layered plan to do just that.  We will provide you with promotional materials, draft letters, phone banking scripts and more... so stay tuned.  If you encounter obstacles or questions you don’t know how to answer, write to us.  If you have experience that others can learn from, write to us.  This is just the beginning of bold and exciting plans to impact all of society with this talk, and Avakian’s revolutionary work overall.  We’ll be writing with more plans and proposals and look forward to your feedback, and your ideas.

In addition to the film itself, a couple of important tools in this promotional effort include the official biography of Avakian, which gets deeply into Bob Avakian’s history and the content and world historic significance of his work.  And there is the website for The Bob Avakian Institute, a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes whose mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience.  Plus, of course, right here at revcom.us, which will be covering this closely.

We also recommend people read and share this piece on why BA is a contended question and welcome and join the controversy over this—positive and negative.

Here are some key elements of the plan for the next several weeks:

• Social media.  This is going to be one of the main ways people encounter this talk, but there needs to be a big breakthrough in reach and impact.  Follow @tuneintorevcom on twitter, facebook and instagram.  In addition to wielding the powerful content of revcom, we will be focusing on promotion of this film—in its own right and in relation to key questions and major events breaking in society.  Help build the following of these accounts and if you already have social media, share on yours.  If you’re promoting the film: watching it with others, out on the street, hanging in the dorms, take a picture, record a comment from someone and post on social media.  Everything should be maximized via social media.  And to volunteer to be part of a national social media team, write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com

• Mass promotion in the street with displays, palm cards, and posters. Go into areas and put a big TV on the back of a truck or van, or show clips on the spot on phones and tablets.  Make a scene and encourage people to watch on the spot, and schedule a time where they can get into it more deeply—on their own, or with their friends and family.  Schools are back in session and we should work with students to spread this in their dorms, make classroom announcements, have viewings with student clubs, or at a coffee shop after school.  Go out to busy transit hubs or even play a minute of it between train stops on mass transit.  Make a stir and let people know that if they are agonizing and confused about what is happening with this regime, they need to hear the analysis in this talk!

Pick a couple areas or spots to saturate, to create real bases where this is a “thing” that everyone knows about... or feels they have to... and the terms of discussion and debate get changed on a mass scale.

As there are new outrages with this regime, join people in the streets and pass out materials about this talk.  Schedule an emergency viewing so people can make the links between the particular outrages, the rapid pace of the regime as a whole—and why we can’t rely on the normal channels that brought this regime to power to stop it, why we must rely on ourselves.

• Organized viewings. In addition to scheduling viewings and inviting people broadly, work with people to show it among their circles, formally and informally.  Talk with pastors about scheduling church showings, reach out to organizations you know, and those you don’t know, about watching clips in a meeting or setting up a time to watch the whole thing. Are there alternative high schools you work with that would show it as a school assembly, what about showings in barber shops and hair salons, neighborhood boxing gyms and more?

• Following up with everyone we meet.  Sit down and strategize with those who have bigger platforms or disproportionate influence.  Make a concerted effort for phone banking and email follow up, inviting people to watch it and promote it on their social media.  Ask people to make video or written statements, send it to us directly or share on their social media.

• Bloggers, podcasters, commentators.  The stand-alone clips from the talk, and the single Q&A’s would make VERY good radio and podcast material.  Reach out to people you know with radio shows, or who have this kind of online platform.  If you have ideas, write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com

• Raising funds for more major online promotion. Every aspect of this should involve fundraising: being out on the street collecting funds, phone banking, and group viewings.  Everyone you meet can be part of enabling this to reach many others by contributing funds to have exponential impact.  Also, stay tuned for a call for a weekend of house parties to raise funds ... but don’t wait to start reaching out to set these up.

• February is Black History Month—And This Talk Is A Must-See In That Context!  Nothing links the whole history of Black people in this country to the rise of this “Make America White Again” regime like this talk does.  Nothing goes anywhere near as deep as this talk doesbe bold and get it out there, to people, groups, events, institutions, etc. who are observing the month!

_______

In everything we do, let people know there is a need for them: for their ideas, questions, skills and creativity.  We need designers, social media mavens, film editors and much more... and every need there is to be filled should provide an opportunity to involve people in the fight for a better world.  We look forward to having a big and very necessary impact on society with this film and, at the end of this month, to get ready for further major advances.  And we look forward to learning a great deal in the process.

Let’s go!

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #529 February 5, 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/528/comments-on-film-of-ba-talk-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Comments on Film of BA’s Talk: “Avakian explains and keeps refocusing your attention to the system that enabled the ascension of this regime”

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From staff of Revolution Books, NYC:

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 was shown this past Sunday at Revolution Books in Harlem, New York City. Ten new people attended—including a librarian from Queens; a ninth-grade public school teacher from the Bronx; two post-doctoral fellows at Columbia University (one from France and the other from England); a young African-American from the neighborhood (living in a homeless shelter) who has hooked up with the Revolution Club; and a young woman from Brazil active in social movements there. We showed the film and followed it with a clip from REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! posted on revcom: “Resisting the Brainwash—A Radical Revolt Again a Revolting Culture.”

After the showing, we asked people what struck them most about the film, what they got most out of it... and people got right into it. Here are three comments. (The French visiting fellow plans to come by the store to discuss the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, which she dove into after the showing.)

Young homeless person: “This is the second time I’ve watched this film. I never understood the role of religion in enslaving people, and this Christian fascism justifying greed and the degradation of women. We’re supposed to put our fate in God’s hands, and not face things ourselves but wait for heaven and angels. But breaking with God is so hard.”

Teacher: “I have to say what struck me most was how Bob Avakian makes you face and recognize America’s past, that you can’t get away from slavery and the injustices done to Black people. He explains how we became the nation we are in a way I never experienced before. And that we have to face that history.”

Librarian: “One of the problems we have in understanding what’s going on, with the terrible direction things have been going in, with Trump and Pence... is that there is so much focus on individuals. But Avakian explains and keeps refocusing your attention on the system that enabled the ascension of this regime.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/the-memo-affair-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

The “Memo Affair”—An Act Towards a Fascist America

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On February 2, acting with the authorization of Donald Trump, the Republican leadership of the House Intelligence Committee released a four-page memo produced by its Republican majority on alleged FISA abuses. FISA (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) courts are the arm of the judiciary that approves electronic surveillance, based on evidence provided by law enforcement.

The memo’s central charge is that in securing permission from the FISA court to wire tap Trump campaign staff, the FBI used as evidence a dossier authored by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele on the Trump campaign’s Russia ties, but allegedly did not disclose that this dossier was funded, in part, by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and therefore this was politically motivated. It alleges that Steele said he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected,” and this is “clear evidence of Steele’s bias,” which was not reflected in the applications and renewals for electronic surveillance.

It is not only the content, but the whole way in which the memo came to be written and published, that represents a further leap in assaulting the norms of how the U.S. bourgeois state has functioned for many decades, and aiming for the imposition of a new norm: a fascist executive power ultimately unconstrained by other branches of government or ruling institutions. In this new model, the role of these others is to facilitate, act as an auxiliary of, and provide cover for the power of the executive branch, which itself is highly concentrated in the hands of the president, creating a force that is not accountable to and is all but unchallengeable, either by bourgeois opponents or by the masses of people.

Overall norms of liberal bourgeois democracy that underlie the much vaunted “checks and balances” of the U.S. Constitution, its separation of powers, and the overall rule of law are under fascist assault—and this act marks a step in this direction.

Trump and the Republican-Fascist Noise Machine

The Republican-fascists who released the memo with Trump’s authorization and blessing, with their propaganda organ Fox Fascist News, are using the memo to allege political bias in the FBI leadership against Trump, and to undermine the investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, claiming they originated in the Steele dossier, and therefore are politically motivated. Fox fascist mouthpiece Sean Hannity constantly trumpets the memo revelations as “the biggest political scandal in U.S. history”!

Their refrain is that the warrant would not have been issued had the FISA court known of the funding source. Two points: first, there was much more (including what we don’t know) in the request for the warrant, and the warrant has been renewed more than once. Second, and more fundamental, the reality is that in the first 35 years of existence of the FISA courts, 35,529 warrants were requested... and all but 12 of them were granted. Especially since 9/11, the federal government has had almost complete free rein to spy on anyone on the planet (as revealed by Edward Snowden’s leaks). The fascists have no problem with that at all. But supposedly the one known time when this routinely granted application for surveillance was applied to a Trump operative, it revealed a grand conspiracy. Besides, the memo itself contains a reference to another staffer potentially triggering the surveillance due to alleged claims he made independently about the Russians having access to emails from the Clinton campaign.

The memo names present and recent past leadership of the FBI and the Justice Department as requesting the specific electronic surveillance, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (overseeing the Mueller investigation), former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (recently forced to resign), and former FBI Director James Comey (fired by Trump last May). The Republican-Fascist Noise Machine argues that the leadership of the FBI has been part of an ongoing politically motivated attack and conspiracy to undermine Trump’s presidency. Alleging its anti-Trump bias and roots, they question the credibility and objectivity of the Mueller investigation (of alleged Trump campaign cooperation with Russia in tampering with the 2016 election, and related obstruction of justice), calling for its dismissal.

Donald Trump Jr. said the memo meant “game over” for the Mueller investigation, echoed by Hannity and others. Donald Trump himself tweeted, “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe.” Arizona congressman Paul Gosar demanded that the high-ranking present and former officials named in the memo be tried for “treason”—which can carry the death penalty!

Shredding of Norms: An Act Towards Fascist Consolidation

Along with the Democrats, the memo’s release was strongly opposed by the intelligence agencies, with the FBI issuing a rare public statement to express its “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” These concerns and opposition, voiced by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, have also been echoed by past leaders of the intelligence agencies like John Brennan, the previous head of the CIA, who angrily charged that the “absence of moral and ethical leadership in the White House is fueling this government crisis.”

We don’t know all the divisions and splits within ruling class institutions sparked by the election and coming to power of this fascist regime. What is clear is that the release of the memo against the advice of the FBI, the director of national intelligence, and others represents a breaking of norms in how ruling class institutions function in relation to each other. It also represents a deliberate act towards consolidating fascism, taking on obstacles to its program and will, including in the state apparatus itself.

Despite Rosenstein’s opposition to the release of the memo, and Christopher Wray, FBI director, saying that its release would cause “grave” harm to national security, Trump declassified the whole thing. Drawing on “top secret” government documents that intelligence committee members are sworn to protect, and legally forbidden to publish or even publicly discuss, Republicans found an almost never used loophole to justify doing so. House speaker Paul Ryan said they must “cleanse the organization,” referring to the FBI. Translation: a “purified” FBI thoroughly “partisan” towards the fascist program (and loyal to Donald Trump).

Trump’s public disregard of the warnings of key leaders of the FBI and the Justice Department was a way of asserting his uncontested authority over major, supposedly independent, institutions of the executive branch. Many commentators have even described the Trump regime as being “at war” with its own Justice Department and the FBI.

In fact, the reason all manner and stripe of Republican-fascists are so cravenly loyal to the notoriously disloyal and treacherous Trump, is because of his willingness and ability to shred and shatter the old norms that have stood as barriers to achieving the aims and objectives of all the fascist currents, from Christian fundamentalists, to white supremacists, to anti-immigrant xenophobes.

Along with attacking those resolutely opposed to fascism and the capitalist-imperialist system of which it is a part, one of the main lines of attack of the fascists is “Weimar,” or liberal bourgeois democracy (drawing from the Weimar Republic, the bourgeois-democratic republic in Germany after World War 1, replaced and forcibly abolished when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in the 1930s)—even though it represents the rule of the same capitalist-imperialist system, though of a section of its ruling strata with sharp differences with fascism. The Republican-fascist attack on the specific people named in the memo, on these institutions of law enforcement, on the Democrats and the media, and on these norms is part of the attack on Weimar. The fascist social base has been whipped up and further hardened around this through the release of this memo, and the braying of the Republican-fascist noise machine and its propagandists, which include the Fox Fascist News anchors.

Some liberal talking heads, including Rachel Maddow, are celebrating the fact that upon release, the memo was revealed to be nothing but a smattering of lies and distortions mixed with hot air, and that even if one accepted its allegations as true, what it is describing is not “scandalous,” or even inappropriate action by the FBI. But they miss, misinform, and mislead. These liberal commentators avoid—and regardless of intent, deceive the people on—the fundamental point of all this marking an act towards fascist consolidation.

The FBI: No “Friend of the People,” Yet a Target of a Fascist Attack That Needs to Be Opposed

As we have previously gone into in depth, the Justice Department, and the FBI which is under its authority, are anything but instruments of “Justice.” In fact, they exist for the purposes of imposing the power of the whole system and the state which enforces the rule—and rules—of this system on the masses of people. For a century, those struggling for social change, from communists to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to Native American resistance groups, have been—in their tens of thousands—in the crosshairs of the FBI. They have been under surveillance, arrested, beaten, tortured, imprisoned, and sometimes murdered by the FBI. After the 1960s, exposure of some of the worst abuses led to some new rules and orientation meant to constrain some of their torture, murder, and other crimes which were undercutting the legitimacy of the FBI and of the U.S. as a whole. But the FBI still surveils, terrorizes, and frames up whole sections of the people, especially the Muslim and immigrant communities, and it aims to strike terror into the hearts of anyone trying to bring about meaningful social change, much less revolution.

And neither the Trump forces nor the Democrats have the slightest problem with that—in fact, they try to outdo each other in praise of the FBI’s repressive role, praising the “brave men and women,” the “rank and file,” etc. Democrats and liberal media like MSNBC are trying to outdo each other in this praise, whitewashing the FBI’s role and history. And part of the peculiar polarization effected by this fascist move against the FBI is that sections of progressive people—who knew better—are being won to its defense, glorifying its role, full stop. Those who revel or find humor in this “irony” are themselves normalizing fascism. All this needs to be struggled against, and change!

Nevertheless, this assault on the FBI, its independence, portends great dangers for the people, and these attacks have to be opposed. Why? It’s part of the wholesale assault on established norms that opens the door to further horrors, the undermining of rule of law and civil liberties, the attack on sections of vulnerable people without due process (including immigrants), the furtherance of white supremacist policies—all as part of an overall fascist program and consolidation. The gravest threat of this fascist consolidation is to the masses of people—in the U.S. and around the world. What is coming into being—unless people move decisively to stop it—is a regime squarely against Black and Latino people, non-white immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people. It is also seeking to impose U.S. interests on the whole world through the reckless threat, and quite possibly the use, of its potentially world-destroying nuclear arsenal.

The Trump/Pence regime is the ultimate nightmare for humanity, and it needs to be not just “constrained,” or “contained,” waiting till the next elections, but driven from power at the soonest possible time. In this context, the correct way to approach these sharp divides at the top is concentrated in the following orientation:

The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent. We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.

This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers that be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/san-francisco-protests-target-ice-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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.

Marching on SF ICE, January 25

Blocking the gates at SF ICE, January 25

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/michael-slate-interview-with-ravi-ragbir-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Michael Slate Interview with Ravi Ragbir, Immigrant Activist Leader:

"There is a warfare against the immigrant community"

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is excerpted from a February 2, 2018 interview with Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio.
The Michael Slate Show airs every week at 10 am Pacific Time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, a Pacifica Network station. The show is archived here.

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

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Michael Slate: In January of this year immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was arrested by ICE when he appeared for his scheduled check-in. The detention of Ravi by ICE is an escalation of the Trump regime’s war on the sanctuary and immigrants rights movement, and a chilling ratcheting up of repression overall, using ICE as a political police to go after leaders of resistance. Ravi is the director of the immigrant advocacy group New Sanctuary Coalition in New York, a collection of 150 faith-based organizations. He became a U.S. resident in 1994. In the early 2000s, the system came down on him hard, threatening to deport him, and he’s been fighting that ever since. More than that, he’s been fighting not just for himself but for immigrants all over. Ravi, welcome to the show.

Ravi Ragbir: Thank you.

Michael Slate: On January 11 you walked into what you expected to be a routine check-in at an ICE office in Manhattan but then you were surprised. What actually happened?

Ravi Ragbir: What happened is, again, this was supposed to be a routine check-in, and we had submitted a request for a stay of removal, which we had gotten in the past. In the past, the agency will look at the equities of the person in the community, looking at community equity and all the things that this person has in their favor, and would have given a stay of removal. In this instance, the deputy director called us up in his office, and that in itself was unique, because normally it would be just one of the regular deportation officers.

As we were sitting there, he’s talking to my wife and my attorney and myself and saying, “OK, we are getting ready to enforce this removal order.” My attorney... we were all in shock. In fact you know what? I fainted. But even before that, my attorneys were like, “Why are you doing this?” Because we still have an appeal in, and there are still legal options that they are looking to work through. It didn’t matter—it did not matter at all. Their goal was to remove me from the United States of America.

A Question of the Humanity of Immigrants

Michael Slate: You’ve been here for 27 years, and for a very significant period of that time you’ve been required to report into ICE in Manhattan, even though at one point you were granted residence status, right?

Ravi Ragbir: Yes, I had a green card from 1994 until it was taken away in 2006. And that was because of a criminal conviction back in 2000. I don’t like to talk about the merits of the conviction because there are many people who have convictions and they have criminalized the immigrant community with talking about “good immigrant—bad immigrant” and using the criminal justice system to punish and double-punish people and put them in permanent exile. So I have a criminal conviction and as a result I am facing deportation—and that in itself is a double jeopardy, a double punishment. We have to be talking about people who have been through the system as if they were animals and less than humans—because we have already went down a slippery slope  when you do that. What will happen is what happened in Arizona in 2010—suddenly every single immigrant is a criminal just because they’re immigrants.

Michael Slate: Yeah, it’s extremely important. It’s a question of whether immigrants are going to be treated as human beings or not.

Ravi Ragbir: That’s true. Think about this, right? They tell us we are “taking people’s jobs away.” And then in the same breath, they are going to say we are a drain to society because we are getting welfare and we are “taking advantage of the system.” How hypocritical is that? They are using contrary arguments in the same sentence. But it is not about whether they contradict each other—it is that they want to remove people. I’ve been saying ethnic cleansing, but they told me to stop talking about ethnic cleansing because it’s really, really harsh. But you heard them talk about the s-hole countries and stopping people from those s-hole countries—the Caribbean, Africa. And then in the same breath they will say we need to have more people like from Norway, for instance. Isn’t that an outrageous statement? And isn’t that an obvious statement of what he wants to do and what his populist supporters want to do? They want to make this a white America. And America has never been white. The Native Americans were never white. The pioneers, the people who came here, may have been white but there were non-whites already living here.

Targeting the Leaders of the Immigrant Rights Movement

Michael Slate: You’ve been reporting regularly to ICE over a period of time and suddenly, this time, they decided to grab you. What was behind that?

Ravi Ragbir: We did not know this at the time. We were seeing something but we didn’t put it together. It was about taking away the leaders of the immigrant movement. There is already an affidavit written by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the habeas case that was brought forth on Monday. They said they “war gamed” it. This was about “war games.” They sat down and they worked out the details. This was a war against the immigrant community and it is a war against the immigrant community. It’s a psychological warfare. They want to destroy any hope that people have and if they take away the leaders they will. When people are seeing it and hearing it, they will assume, “OK, look at Ravi. Ravi has all this community support and yet he was still deported. What chance do I have?”

And what happens is what you see happening with the Haitians where their TPS [Temporary Protected Status] has been revoked. And instead of fighting their case, instead of knowing that there is a process to fight it, they are fleeing up to Canada. Some people have fled on the coldest nights, they have lost fingers and toes, just trying to get to a place of safety.

There is a warfare against the immigrant community, and taking away the leadership is part of the strategy, including myself, Jean Montrevil, Maru Mora-Villalpando and many others who have been targeted and taken away. So it is deliberate. What we’re seeing here is the administration going after us and going after sanctuary cities because we are the obstacle stopping them from doing their horrendous cleansing of the Brown and Black community who are a part of the United States.

Importance of Hundreds of People Stepping Up Against Deportation of Ravi

Michael Slate: When you went to ICE, people did show up in large numbers to support you. They gathered outside the ICE office to show that support and when they heard that you were being detained they tried to stop it. Let’s talk about what happened because it is fairly significant.

Ravi Ragbir: We were aware that something was happening because a week before that the community was telling us, “Wait a minute, there are strange cars outside.” And upon investigation we realized it was ICE looking for me and looking to take me away on January 3 even though I had to check in on January 11. You’ll find that this is their strategy now. They’re telling you to come in on a day but go against their own process. They are violating their own process by snatching you away. So you’re not prepared, you haven’t said your goodbyes. That’s part of the warfare. “Let’s really make this very painful for the families and for the community that we are ripping you apart from and you can’t do anything.”

So we were ready for that, we expected that. We have an accompaniment program where we partner U.S. citizens with non-citizens who are in removal proceedings. What you saw happening on January 11 was an accompaniment on steroids, where we are not going to accept someone being deported. The community itself was stepping up to that. What you saw... the hundreds of people who were there to stop my deportation. This was supposed to be peaceful; this was a peaceful interaction that always happens whenever I went to check-in. But when you saw the individuals coming out of the violence that was perpetrated on the committee, it was very, very evident. You saw Rev. Ruiz being snatched by the throat and thrown to the ground. You saw the councilman being beaten and then flung onto the hood of a car. Another councilman was put in a choke hold by NYPD. What you didn’t see as much was elderly grandmothers who would just be thrown, picked up, and thrown from one side to the other.

I was just having lunch when you called and we were talking about who was there watching—how they were treating the grandmothers, these people who are frail, who you think you would be more careful about. But they, the NYPD, were told this has to stop. They’re not going to allow any committee to ask that Ravi shall not be deported. They had blood in their eyes, and that was the goal, to stop anything, to shut it down. What you saw happening was that. It was overkill, it was overzealousness because they feel that they should be able to do anything they want to. That is the breakdown you have when we have a society where your agencies of protection are now the ones who will cause you harm.

Brutality at Krome Detention Center

Michael Slate: Now Ravi, you eventually ended up being shipped off to Krome in Florida. Krome is the equivalent of a concentration camp. They shipped a lot of Haitian people to Krome over the last few decades; in the ’90s they shipped huge numbers of Haitian people to that place, where people were left in the most horrendous conditions, held there until they could be shipped off to Haiti or until they died. I want to talk about that, what you found there.

Ravi Ragbir: So what’s most bizarre was that normally they would process me ... and probably take me to a location pretty close to New York and New Jersey. Yet that didn’t happen. When I fainted and they took me to the hospital, there were 20 people, 10 ICE officers and 10 NYPD officers looking at me. I was shackled to the bed and I was surrounded with 20 people and it was bizarre. I was looking at it like an out-of-body experience—what the hell is happening? And from the hospital they took me straight to the airport, which is something that is unique to this. There was a 10-car escort—10 vehicles taking me to the airport. It was only myself, no other detainees, no other immigrants, it was just myself. The resources they allocated to this was unbelievable. Within hours from the time they arrested me, put me in handcuffs [at] 26 Federal Plaza, which was around 11:00 am, I was in a plane to Miami at 4:00 pm. This is how organized and how carefully planned this was.

       

And when they took me to Florida they were going to house me in Krome, but the next day the goal, the intention, was to take me to a plane to Trinidad. Even though there was a hold, a stay of removal from the court, I was sitting there listening to them, looking at the computer and looking at the courts that said you can’t deport Ravi—and their whole intention was to ignore that order. Fortunately, they did not and that’s why I’m here.

But when I was in Krome I met hundreds of people who literally felt that they had no hope. An example of that, you heard a story of 82 Somalians were put on a plane to Somalia, a charter plane, and when the Somalia government refused them they were kept on that plane for over 48 hours. No restroom available—48 hours without restroom, 48 hours shackled to each other and shackled to the plane and 48 hours with barely any food to eat.

And then in addition to that, they were physically abused and beaten by the ICE officers. After all of that, when they brought them back, you’d think they would have the decency to release these people. They were still being kept at the Krome facility. It was meant to punish; it was meant to break people’s spirits when you’re taken into detention. They separate you from your family, and your loved ones. I was sent to Florida because they know I have community here. They knew my lawyers were here. But the goal is to separate me so that I will want to give up.

Fortunately, I am not giving up. When I spoke to them in Krome, I told them they cannot give up. Every single one of them has to stand up to this agency, and there will be people who will support them. There’ll be people who will be there for them. And they have been able to contact New Sanctuary here, and they’ve been able to provide some assistance for a number of them who are in Krome. And who are in Orange County [New York] where they took me from Krome after the judge forced them to bring me back up to New York.

Michael Slate: What happened when you came back to New York?

Ravi Ragbir: They tried very hard to ask the judge to keep me in Florida. In fact, they went one step beyond that. They were telling the judge to remove the stay of removal. So even though there was a court case, if the judge had removed the stay of removal, they would have put me on a plane immediately. There was no question. I would have been on a plane and they would have said, “Well, the judge did not stop it.”

So the judge forced them to bring me back up, and I was taken to Orange County Correctional Facility, which is a two-hour drive from New York City. Even though it was so far, it was still better than Florida, because my family would visit me, as well as my lawyers. I had a visit every single day by the community. People were coming up there because two hours’ drive is better than flying down to Florida.

My wife spent hundreds of dollars a week so that she and I can talk on the phone. Hundreds of dollars! When you’re put in these places, they make it as difficult as possible, so that people can keep in touch with their family. Again, to break their spirits, to destroy them so that they want to give up. The food in Orange County was horrible. You couldn’t believe how little they feed you. They say it’s according to the nutritional guidelines, but you are starving. You cannot survive on what they are giving you, because it is not enough to feed a grown man so that he will be able to go through the day.

Michael Slate: The New Sanctuary Coalition saying something that is very important, which is there’s a real need for this movement to grow and expand and fight.

Ravi Ragbir: The path the New Sanctuary has taken is unsurprisingly the path of nonviolence. In the same way of Mahatma Ghandi and Rev. Martin Luther King, which talks about nonviolence. We are following that same premise, because their whole goal is violence. They want to violate you. They want to impose violence on you. And if you respond violently, it justifies their action. What we have done is breaking that cycle of violence. So it may sound as if it’s bleeding heart liberal, stuff like that, but it is imperative, it is critical to understand that when you are stopping them from acting in the way that they have been acting, by removing that violent element, they don’t know what to do. When you have these grandmothers and these faith leaders standing up to these officers, either they do what you see happened on January 11, which is totally overzealously become violent, but then when that happens, you will have what you saw what happened in the habeas court when the judge says, “We are becoming a country of those regimes we revile, and we are very close to that because of the policies and the way the policies are implemented.”

In the New Sanctuary, we know we have to connect with each other. And yes, we can be in the streets, and yes, we want to protest, but we need to go one step more. We actually have to go inside. And what New Sanctuary has been doing is teaching people to go inside—to go inside in defiance of saying this is an isolated area, only the immigrants are allowed in. No. We are citizens, U.S. citizens, and we have a right to be there and to partner with non-citizens because they are part of our community.

Michael, listen, I was in detention on Monday. And then on Tuesday night, I was in Congress for the State of the Union. I was sitting there listening to those cruel words issued by the administration. But I sat there and did that in a form of defiance—you want to deport me, you want to destroy the community. We are looking at you and saying that we are going to stand up to you.

And that’s what New Sanctuary does. It stands up to the violence that happens inside. So we have training. We have accompaniment programs where we train you. You think you know it and you’ve done it, but unless you’ve been trained in the creative ways that people have understood to respond to the violence, you will not be effective during this process.

So New Sanctuary has taken a very unique strategy to engage physically with the entity that is trying to destroy us. Truly, it is the citizens that are standing up and we need to have more and more people step up to stop this.

Trump/Pence Regime’s Ethnic Cleansing

Michael Slate: Recently you compared the way that Trump has slammed down on immigrants lately to ethnic cleansing. These attacks are coming every day, and they’re coming on harder and harder. The New Sanctuary put out a report that said that more people are in sanctuary today, directly because of attacks on immigrants, than ever before.

Ravi Ragbir: You just have to listen to his words. His recent words about the African countries and the Caribbean countries, using very descriptive language about them. And then his whole invitation to Europeans, we need to have more Europeans, as if the color of your skin actually makes you better than someone who is darker.

Just those words alone already put you in an understanding of what has happened. They will say, this is about integration, this is about the right to allow who we want to allow in the country. But it’s not just about who they want to allow in the country. It’s about what they have been doing to remove people who have been living here 20 years, and 30 years, or even 10 years. When I was in Krome, I met a father who was there for 30 years. He’d been living in this country for 30 years. When I was at Orange County, there was this father whose son is in the Navy right now, and he has been here for 20 years. These are the people who are being deported, who are forcibly being removed. If you look at the numbers, you will see that it is countries of a particular ethnic background, Brown and Black countries who are in the majority of people getting deported.

And then look at their faces. I want you to stop looking at the numbers. I want you to start looking at the faces, the people who are being affected. You will see that it is the Mexicans, the Colombians, the Caribbeans, the Africans that are being deported. And you will say, OK, you are just sending people away who weren’t born here. But they are actually trying to force the family to leave. One of the judges said to the prisoners, “Well, if you miss your family, all you need to do is to Skype them or call them on the phone.”

How insensitive is that?! When you think a Skype call is going to replace your presence as a father of the family? That is the insensitivity, but it is an insensitivity with an intent that these people are not welcome here, and they want to make that clear. And that’s not enough. They are going after the immigrant community. You’ve heard the director of ICE saying that he’s very happy to implement the administration agenda to remove people.

“To win we have to come together”

Michael Slate: You’re facing a hearing coming up in February. In addition to protecting you and fighting for you, there’s the bigger question of what’s coming down. So, how can people find out more about what’s happening with you, and with the New Sanctuary Coalition?

Ravi Ragbir: They can go to the website. The website has been updated so that everything that has happened in the last three weeks is on the website, newsanctuarynyc.org. If you sign up there you will be given updates about what is happening, what you can do and how you can get involved. There are other websites particular to my campaign.

I did not do this alone, Michael. There are many people who stepped up to stop this deportation: my friends, my legal team, my wife, my community, the staff, the churches, they all stepped up, and they very aggressively were involved in stopping my deportation. You saw that manifested in the court decision where we never expected that decision. I think that is going to have a ripple effect through the legal community because they are starting to understand what the regime is doing here and that if they don’t step up, it’s a really, really dangerous slide to fascism, which we need to stamp out.

So if you go to www.newsanctuarynyc.org, you will be able to find out, and even if you are in California, or in Michigan, you can make a difference, you can get involved, because this is connected. Unless we do this as a community throughout the country, we will not win. To win we have to come together.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/west-los-angeles-hundreds-march-for-dreamers-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

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.

Throughout the action, organizers and DACA youth rejected a “deal” between Democrats and the Trump/Pence regime whereby hundreds of thousands, or even well over a million people, who came to the U.S. when they were young, would get promises of legal status years down the line while the immigrant community as a whole would face stepped-up government assaults and raids, deportations (including of their own families), border walls and heightened border militarization, and laws and actions against family reunification. (There are 800,000 people who received DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—but the actual number of “Dreamers”—undocumented young people who came to the U.S. before their 18th birthday, is actually much, much higher: 3.6 million, fully one-third of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.)

The rejection of this “deal” came through in a number of speeches, posters, and in the chants too, like “Dreamers are not political pawns” and “Dreamers are not for bargain.” Other chants included: “If They Won’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let Them Sleep!” and “Undocumented...Unafraid.”

Hundreds of copies of the recent statement from Refuse Fascism, “First They Came for the Muslims, Then They Came for the Immigrants—Not This Time...” were distributed. Many of the people at the protest were looking for an understanding of these attacks on immigrants and what is at stake and eagerly took the flyers. This statement is much needed, and urgently addressing things that people are not clear on: that the Trump /Pence regime’s escalating assaults on immigrants is a major sledgehammer and linchpin that this fascist regime is using to bolt down a full-on fascist government and society, and the genocidal implications of this if it is not stopped.

In tandem with righteously turning down “Trump’s deal,” people were putting forward that in the “long term,” there need to be efforts to sign up citizens to vote and that “this is going to be a three-year battle.” The reality is that fascism could consolidate well before that if this regime is not driven from power.

Faith-based leaders at the march, quoting leading immigrant rights lawyers, were saying the main reason Trump recently rescinded Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese was to negatively affect the voting blocs of the Democratic Party. But this, too, seriously underestimates the efforts of the Trump/Pence regime to bolt down a fully fascist reality in the U.S. One of the chants was “Congress, Get a Heart.” However, stopping this escalating assault won’t come from appealing to the “hearts” of politicians in either the Republican or Democratic Party. What can force real change, including the removal of this fascist regime, is uncompromising struggle of ultimately millions in the streets and upheaval throughout society that demands these attacks stop and this fascism be driven from power.

It is important to note that there is a “process of discovery” going on among those coming into political motion. For example, two of the youths who spoke at the march were among the 30 undocumented youths who were invited by Democrats to attend Trump’s recent Nazi-like State of the Union. One said she was shocked and that she “had never been in such a toxic room ... the white supremacy ... now I finally understand the threat of what we are dealing with.” At the same time, she talked about “three years of resistance” and registering voters. The other DACA youth more stressed that we need to do something now and not wait.

High school students who’d come to the march wrestled together with Refuse Fascism activists about the contradiction between the relative apathetic nature of a lot of students at their high school and the actual emergency that is going on.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/527/RefuseFascismOrg-first-they-came-for-the-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The gloves are off.  The Trump/Pence Regime has launched an all-out comprehensive and qualitative leap in the implementation of a program of genocidal ethnic cleansing of immigrants – particularly targeting Black and Brown peoples.

This is a monumental horror in its own right, creating terror and untold suffering.  At the same time, it is a major escalation in the consolidation of a fascist America.  From Trump’s election campaign to the opening days of the regime, anti-immigrant, xenophobic nationalism has been the battering ram and lynchpin of the Trump/Pence Regime.  Trump’s “Wall” is a potent symbol and instrument of terror that concentrates the shattering of old norms and cementing Trump’s new order of: America First...Make America Great White Again.

This assault on immigrants must be stopped and the Trump/Pence Regime that is responsible  must be driven from power by the only force that could do this: the united nonviolent mass sustained struggle of hundreds of thousands and millions voting with their feet in the streets.

Now is the time for everyone to come to the defense of those first and most viciously under attack and strengthen the movement to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power.

***********

This comprehensive and qualitative leap in the ethnic cleansing of immigrants is comprised of  these five major moves made in the last two weeks:

  1. Further moves to end DACA protections for 800,000+ Dreamers (immigrants brought to this country as children) while cruelly bargaining their future in exchange for the lives of millions of other immigrants. Ending DACA would destroy the lives of nearly a million young people, shatter their families, and instill even greater terror among all immigrants. The Trump/Pence Regime threatens the sword of deportation over the Dreamers in order to drastically cut legal immigration and institute even more draconian military and vigilante terror against all immigrants.  Heartlessly, they seek to end immigration that reunites families. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership acts like horse traders, only with human lives, collaborating and capitulating.  Any “deal” that trades the security of a section of the Dreamers for heightened terror and ethnic cleansing against other immigrants is not only immoral, it would feed the anti-immigrant juggernaut that would sooner or later come for all immigrants.
  2. Targeted detentions, deportations, and threats of the same against outspoken immigrants rights leaders, including Ravi Ragbir, Jean Montrevil, and Maru Mora-Villalpando. The targeting of courageous leaders is a calculated tactic of the United States political police aimed at breaking the movements of the people. This must not be allowed.  These leaders must be defended and many more must step forward to fight right now.  Also, nine members of No More Deaths, an Arizona group that leaves water in the desert where thousands of immigrants have died, were arrested in recent days.
  3. The looming threat of a major ICE raid in the Bay Area aimed at breaking the sanctuary city/state movement nationallyReports state that U.S. immigration officials are preparing a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities aiming to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people. The goal is not only to destroy the lives of countless immigrants and their families, but also to break any legal opposition from state and city officials anywhere.  This follows vicious coordinated dawn raids on immigrants working at 98 7-Elevens nationwide. Homeland Security said this was a “harbinger” of what is to come.
  4. Ending of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans, 60,000 Haitians, 5,300 Nicaraguans, 1,000 Sudanese, and the threat/likely ending of TPS for 57,000 Hondurans very soon. Over a quarter of a million immigrants will face deportation or life in the terror of the shadows under Trump, families will be shattered, and deportation or “voluntary” departure will send these human beings into conditions of intense deprivation, violence, and in many cases certain death.
  5. The racialization and white supremacy of this anti-immigrant program. This has been clear from the beginning, but took a leap when Trump viciously called for shutting down immigration from the Black and Brown nations of Haiti, El Salvador, and the continent of Africa – calling them “shitholes” – while welcoming more immigrants from (white) countries like Norway. This is a rallying cry to Trump’s fascist social base, a signal to the rising white-euro fascist nationalism around the world, and an actual genocidal program being concretely advanced with the full force of the most powerful state in the world.

*****

Is calling this the beginning of genocidal ethnic cleansing of Black and Brown immigrants too extreme?  Look at the numbers.  Look at children torn from parents. People sent to countries where they may face death.  What else do you call the criminal notion that where you were born, the color of your skin, and the language you speak should define whether you are regarded as human or not, whether you live or die?  What else do you call the view that any crime can be committed against those who are deemed “less than human” in the name of protecting the “real (ie: white, native-born) Americans,” meanwhile the U.S. can invade, torture, and even nuke other countries at will?

This MUST not be allowed.  It must be actively and effectively resisted in order to prevent the enormous suffering, terror, and advancement of actual genocide and ethnic cleansing against millions of immigrants and their families.

And, this must be resisted in a way that strengthens the movement to drive out the whole fascist Trump/Pence Regime through mass, sustained, nonviolent political protest.

Any attempt to wait it out, or to “save one’s fight” for some imagined bigger battle to come, is immoral delusion – it is trading away immigrants and losing one’s own humanity, and will put you in a worse place to fight the next attack.  It is imperative for everyone to come to the defense of those first and most viciously under attack. Now is the time for everyone to find the ways to show – in word and deed – that: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

Everywhere, people need to meet, to plan and to ACT together – on campuses, among the faith community, by prominent artists and musicians, and all throughout society.  We need symbols of defiance taken up by hundreds of thousands and even millions, and protests, marches, and other acts of political resistance. Over the next weeks the world must see, the powers-that-be must feel, that people in this country will not allow them to take our brothers and sisters.

Refuse Fascism is calling on people to get organized to resist and for diverse organizations to talk to and really work with each other, to build much needed unity to stop this terror.  We, as RefuseFascism.org, invite and urge everyone who is outraged and concerned to reach out to us, strategize with us, and make big plans to STOP this nightmare and get organized to drive out the Trump/Pence Regime.

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

In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/ICE-to-use-license-plates-to-track-down-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has a new contract with a technology company in California, giving them the ability to track immigrants through license plates. According to the website TheVerge.com, the contract is with a company called Vigilant Solutions, which claims to have the largest collection of license plate images in the U.S. ICE now has immediate full access to Vigilant’s database of over two billion license plate images and the analytic tools needed to use that data in tracking people. This Gestapo force will use this as a tool for tracking the location of immigrants as it moves to round people up, tear apart families, imprison and deport them. It has been reported that ICE has been testing this system since 2012 during the Obama years, but back then the Department of Homeland Security (which ICE is part of) determined that it should not be implemented supposedly because of “privacy concerns.” Now with the Trump/Pence fascist regime the gloves are off.

The license plate photos in this database come from many sources, including bridge toll cameras, airport parking garage cameras, cameras mounted on police cars, cameras on city buses in cities like San Francisco currently used for issuing parking tickets, vehicle repossession agencies, and special cameras installed right on streets in specially targeted communities like Brentwood, New York (in this case, with the excuse of “fighting gangs”). These are special cameras coupled with GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities similar to Google Maps so the cameras “know” where they are as they capture license plate data. And they contain special software capable of extracting the plate numbers from the photos they take.

How It Works

As someone drives around in their car or even just parks, cameras from any one of these stationary or mobile sources grab a photo of their license plate. Special software instantly extracts the license plate number from the photo. Then, along with that plate number, the exact time and exact location are captured, sent up to the database, and stored. Many of these special cameras can record and send to the database over 100 records per minute. Over time—days, weeks, months, or years—a historical record builds up showing where that car has been. All of this is stored in a massive database that ICE can now access and query with advanced analytical tools.

From there it is an easy matter of matching the license plate number to find the registered owner of the car using Department of Motor Vehicle records. Since most people have regular patterns where they travel and where they park their car, it is possible for ICE and other pig forces accessing the database to spot places where a car is regularly parked. Then if they find other car owners they are “interested” in and see they are also parked nearby regularly, they can figure out who a person associates with.

Once they home in on a target, they can get the database to show all the locations of the car for the last five months. From this they can spot not only where the person they are targeting parks regularly but often what typical routes they drive and even when they usually drive them, along with where they usually can be located at different times of the day. This kind of thing used to require individual pigs tailing people or planting actual tracking devices on their cars. Now the data can be gathered massively and continually with just these cameras. And with today’s powerful computers, it is possible for the pigs to weed through all the data to get what they are looking for. They also have an alert system once they are targeting a certain car to send them text or email alerts whenever that plate has been seen by one of the cameras.

Sanctuary Cities and States Efforts to Protect Immigrants Compromised

Hunting immigrants through tracking license plates may be one way for the Trump/Pence regime and ICE to undermine sanctuary cities and states. For example, as reported by KIRO-7 news in Seattle, Washington, “It may be tough for Washington to avoid sharing license plate information, even though the governor has ordered state officials not to cooperate with immigration enforcement unless required to do so by a judge. That’s because Washington’s Good-to-Go tolling system, for example, also depends on license plate recognition and a national database to collect tolls.” One Washington state senator said, “I’m really upset and I am outraged about what ICE is doing” and that she had feared that technology used for things like improving traffic flow might be used for other purposes like this.

The Trump/Pence regime is demonizing and stepping up repression against 11 million plus undocumented immigrants, in particular those from what Trump so outrageously called “shithole” countries. This is clear and horrific. The fascist regime has now terrorized immigrants and driven them deeper into the shadows. They know that they face opposition and resistance, including, but not only in, sanctuary cities and states. And for them that poses a problem. How to find and track down these people? Now with this new car license tracking system, they have a key tool for that. There are also other moves underway, like adding a question about people’s citizenship in the next U.S. census.

This is very reminiscent of Hitler’s time, when the Nazis needed a way to identify, categorize, track down, and round up the millions of Jews and “efficiently” process them through the death camps. They turned to a U.S. technology company, IBM, which gave the Nazi regime access to what was at that time a new and cutting-edge system of Hollerith punch cards and sorting machines for those cards. These systems were first applied to German census data, then used to locate, process through the camps, and categorize who would be worked to death and who gassed immediately, and ultimately to the extermination of millions of Jews. This shameful criminal history is documented in the book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black.

This history must not be repeated. The situation now is very ominous, and it is urgent that mass opposition in the streets be built against these horrors. As some protesters have very correctly put it: “Never Again Is Now!”

 

Stand Up Now with the Immigrants

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/the-dismissal-of-victor-cha-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

The Dismissal of Victor Cha

Trump Moves Closer to Military Attack on North Korea

February 1, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On January 30, several news organizations reported that Donald Trump had dropped the nomination of Victor Cha to be U.S. ambassador to South Korea. Cha’s offense? According to news reports, he “raised concerns about U.S. plans to use a pre-emptive military strike to give North Korea a ‘bloody nose.’”

Cha was director for Asian Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council during the presidency of George W. Bush. He advocates “enhanced and sustained U.S. regional and global pressure” on North Korea, as he wrote in a recent op-ed. This includes what he calls a “forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.” Cha’s approach is typical of how the U.S. imperialists dealt with North Korea before the Trump/Pence regime rose to power.

But this is not enough for the hard-core fascists of the Trump/Pence regime. Cha’s dismissal indicates that the U.S.’s plans for possible war to resolve its conflict with North Korea is serious as a heart attack. They don’t want anyone in a responsible position who isn’t 100 percent on board with this.

Talking about Depravity…

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.”

—From Trump’s January 30 State of the Union speech.

Who the hell is Trump to call anyone “depraved”?! He and his masters of nuclear war are drawing up plans to use the world’s most advanced weaponry to pound a poor and isolated country. North Korea is not any kind of “socialist” or liberatory society—but it does pose an obstacle to unfettered U.S. domination of East Asia, and the world. The concern expressed by U.S. leadership is for their troops and other Americans in Korea—not for the tens of millions of Koreans, and tens, even hundreds of millions more people, who could be killed if a conflict there sparks off wider war, as it well might! This is utterly unacceptable.

The U.S Seventh Fleet— the largest naval fleet in the world—has about 70 ships, 300 aircraft, and tens of thousands of personnel around North Korea. Last year the U.S. opened a sprawling $11 billion military base in South Korea that, according to a military expert, aims to “enable the rapid deployment of augmenting U.S. forces to the [South Korean military] and their expeditious projection to the forward area” (i.e., to invade North Korea, about 50 miles away). This is one of over 100 U.S. bases in South Korea. Trump has issued a steady stream of threats and insults at North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un.

The “bloody nose” plan Cha objected to is no schoolyard fist fight. John Nagl, a retired lieutenant colonel who worked with “Defense” Secretary James Mattis 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 fall of the North Korean government)]. … There is every prospect of a ‘bloody nose’ for North Korea ending in global war between China and the United States.”

Confront Reality… and Act to Change It

The reality is that the U.S. could launch a strike on North Korea at any moment. It could include, or quickly escalate to, an exchange of nuclear weapons. The lives of tens of millions of people would immediately be imperiled. The possibility is great that an attack on North Korea could spiral into a conflagration that would involve other powers, and spread to other parts of the world, using a range of weapons that could include chemical and biological poisons, as well as nuclear bombs.

There are some basic questions that have no moral ambiguity to them, questions that millions of people in this country must confront. Do you think Korean lives are every bit as valuable as American lives? Do you think the U.S. has no right to threaten, bully, and attack a country on the other side of the world? Do you think the slaughter that such an attack would initiate is completely unjustified and criminal? Do you need to do everything in your power, to act with and mobilize others to bring forth mass political opposition to a U.S. assault on North Korea?

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/american-crime-number-46-slavery-in-thailand-shrimp-industry-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

American Crime

Case #46: Slavery in Thailand's Shrimp Industry

February 5, 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:

Americans certainly love their shrimp. They consume more of it than any other seafood, 1.3 billion pounds a year, about four pounds per person. Most of the shrimp have been peeled and cleaned, so consumers can conveniently move them straight from the refrigerator to the skillet. What most Americans don’t know, and what is largely hidden from them, is what makes it possible for them to enjoy their favorite seafood: workers who have been enslaved, often held in debt bondage and by other means, in Thailand, where a major portion of America’s shrimp comes from.

Seafood is a major, $7 billion industry in Thailand, employing 650,000 workers, and it’s anchored by tens of thousands of slave laborers. Most are impoverished migrant fishermen from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar desperate to find any work they can. As Thailand’s seafood export industry has expanded in recent years, agents have begun recruiting migrant children and the disabled. They lie about wages and drug and kidnap migrants, who are sold to Thai captains of fishing vessels or the companies that own them. A slave costs about $1,000 to buy, and the workers are forced to pay off their “debt” with their wages, which often aren’t paid for months, years, or sometimes not at all.

Thailand is one of the world’s main shrimp-exporting countries, and it sends nearly half of its annual catch to the U.S., which imports 90 percent of its shrimp. Thai shrimp is one of the main sources of shrimp for the U.S. market overall, and for the production and supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Kroger, and Whole Foods, and major restaurant chains such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Thai shrimp are also found in well-known U.S. seafood brands and pet foods, sold through grocery store chains with tens of thousands of outlets at which millions of Americans shop.

The fishing crews who catch the shrimp work long hours and are often the targets of physical abuse. A 2013 International Labor Organization survey of nearly 600 fishermen working aboard Thai boats found that nearly 25 percent worked 20-hour days, seven days a week, with another 14 percent reporting “indefinite” hours. Another study found that a number of fishermen were force-fed methamphetamine to get them to work harder, faster, longer. On one boat, torture and execution awaited migrant workers who tried to flee. Some corpses were thrown in the water, these bruised bodies later found weighted down by chains. “They would torture and murder the fishers then throw them into the sea,” said an escaped trafficking victim.” Such eyewitness reports of murder at sea are common.

Much of the catch is taken to one of the hundreds of shrimp cleaning and peeling sheds in a port town just an hour outside the capital city of Bangkok. Some are no bigger than a large garage and they’re packed with locked-down laborers who are frequently beaten. Slave laborers are locked inside, forced to peel and clean shrimp nearly around the clock with no days off. “Sometimes when we were working, the tears would run down our cheeks because it was so tiring we couldn’t bear it,” one reported. A woman eight months pregnant miscarried on the shed floor but was told to keep working even while hemorrhaging. A pregnant woman who escaped was tracked down, sent back to the shed, and handcuffed to another laborer to prevent her from escaping again. Some 10,000 children, boys and girls between ages 13 and 15 toil in sheds like these.

After the shrimp are cleaned and peeled in factories and sheds, they’re loaded on trucks and sent to several major Thai exporting companies, which then sell shrimp in vast quantities to large U.S. conglomerates like the Chicken of the Sea Eastern Fish Company. These conglomerates then resell the shrimp to food manufacturers to make processed and frozen foods, to retailers and food service providers including restaurants, and to brands sold directly to consumers and retailers.

THE CRIMINALS:

U.S. government: Enforces overall U.S. imperialist domination of Thailand, including by backing its reactionary, pro-U.S. regime and by encouraging, protecting, and facilitating the exploitative economic ties and relations with Thailand. The U.S. State Department has issued reports critical of Thailand for slave labor and other abuses, but recently the U.S. has claimed things are improving. Human rights groups like Humanity United, however, write they haven’t seen “significant change,” that “egregious abuse in the seafood industry” continues, and “If anything, conditions are worsening for migrant workers, rather than improving.”

U.S. food stores and retailers, restaurants, seafood brands and pet foods, and U.S. capital overall, which dominate and shape global production and supply chains and reap extra, or super, profits from the extensive use of cheap slave labor. They’ve fought public efforts to stop them from selling slavery-produced shrimp, and U.S. courts have supported them. In January 2017, a U.S. federal judge dismissed a suit claiming that giant retailer Costco has knowingly sold frozen prawns involving farming by Thai slave labor. He ruled that plaintiffs failed to establish that Costco had to inform customers that slavery could be involved in the prawns it was selling.

Thai government: The ruling military junta has claimed repeatedly it is cracking down on slavery and human trafficking in the seafood industry, and has passed various measures to do so. But human rights groups report that in reality, slavery, trafficking, and murder still pervade the seafood industry. Thai police and the judiciary are complicit. Arrests and prosecutions of those engaging in slavery and trafficking are practically nonexistent. When police raid factories and sheds, they often send migrant workers to jail, while owners go unpunished. Former slaves report that police take them into custody and then sell them to agents who in turn sell them back into the seafood industry.

THE ALIBI:

The U.S. government claims the Thai military government is continuing to make progress in tackling the problem of slave labor and human trafficking, and therefore no punitive action, such as sanctions, is required. Multinational giants like Walmart and Costco claim they are unaware of the use of Thai slave labor, or that the supply chain is so complex that it’s impossible for them to trace and be able to tell whether the shrimp they sell are slave-produced.

THE REAL MOTIVE:

The highly integrated and developed production chain that brings slave-produced Thai shrimp from the ocean to U.S. dinner tables is shaped and dominated by global capitalism, U.S. capitalism-imperialism in particular. The global use of outsourcing and subcontracting is a core feature of global capitalist production today. It’s enormously advantageous to U.S. capitalism-imperialism, increasing its profitability and flexibility, and freeing it of the “burdens” of environmental, labor, or other regulations. And it gives these global exploiters “plausible deniability”—“someone else enslaved the workers, we knew nothing.”

This whole economic setup is enforced by the power of the imperialist state, including by backing, protecting, even sometimes installing brutal, oppressive regimes that serve imperialism.

Thailand is one of them. For many years it has been the U.S.’s staunchest Southeast Asian ally. During the Vietnam War, Thailand hosted seven air bases from which U.S. aircraft launched daily missions to strike strategic targets in South and North Vietnam and Laos. Thailand also hosted a U.S. naval base and port facilities that brought critical military supplies to the region. At the war’s height, nearly 50,000 U.S. military personnel were stationed throughout Thailand, and some 40,000 Thai soldiers and sailors fought alongside Americans as part of the so-called Free World Forces.

Today, the U.S. imperialists consider Thailand a critical enabler of their strategic interests in the region, including in the “War on Terror.” Top al-Qaida suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded and subjected to other illegal torture at a secret “black site” in Thailand during CIA interrogation operations in 2002. The U.S. also sees Thailand as an important ally against China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia. And there are extensive economic, trade, and investment links between the two countries. In October 2017, Trump rolled out the White House red carpet for Thailand’s prime minister, the very person who in 2014, as commander in chief of the army, overthrew the elected government.

These are the reasons the U.S. refuses to seriously consider sanctions or other actions that would help end the living nightmare in which tens of thousands of slaves in Thailand’s seafood industry are enmeshed.

Sources:

An AP investigation helps free slaves in the 21st Century,” Associated Press, July 2016

Thailand’s Seafood Slaves: Human Trafficking, Slavery and Murder in Kantang’s Fishing Industry,” Environmental Justice Foundation, London, November 30, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. to upgrade Thailand in annual human trafficking report,” Reuters, June 28, 2016

Retail giant Costco wins dismissal of prawn lawsuit over Thai forced labor,” Reuters, January 25, 2017

Thailand: Forced Labor, Trafficking Persist in Fishing Fleets,” Human Rights Watch, January 23, 2018

Thai seafood: are the prawns on your plate still fished by slaves?The Guardian, January 23, 2018

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/politicized-grammys-brings-anger-defiance-and-love-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Check It Out...

A Politicized Grammys Brings Anger, Defiance and Love for the People of the World

January 31, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

There were some positive and important things that took place at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night—reflecting a depth of anger at Donald Trump and several shout-outs and love sent to the people of the world, especially from “shithole countries.” There were important statements about the #MeToo movement and a seething performance from Kendrick Lamar.

This wasn't all without contradiction, and there is much in the “music industry” (and note well the term) to be struggled against right now, but there are positive stirrings to learn from and appreciate. I won't capture them all here, but here are a few highlights:

The rapper Logic performed a moving song about suicide with singers Alessia Cara and Khalid. Afterwards, he gave the following speech:

Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly. Women are as precious as they are stronger than any man I have ever met. And unto them I say: Stand tall and crush all predators under the weight of your heart that is full of the love they will never take away from you. Be not scared to use your voice, and especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity. Stand and fight for those who are not weak, but have yet to discover the strength that the evil of this world has done its best to conceal. To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity and thousands of years of history, you are not shitholes! And lastly, on behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring. I say unto you, bring us your tired, your poor and any immigrant who seeks refuge. For together, we can build not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united.

U2 performed in front of artwork from JR (French photographer)—showing the humanity of people of all different nationalities. And they made a statement in unity with people from “shithole” countries. They also performed in front of the Statue of Liberty, and while their stand was mainly positive, it reflected a lot of illusions about the real nature of the U.S. (which was a certain theme throughout the night).

Ice-T's metal band, Body Count, performed a fierce song against police brutality and murder, “Black Hoodie.”

The singer Kesha sang with a number of well-known women artists about getting out from under a relationship of brutal sexual assault—learning she can stand on her own. This year, Kesha was forced to pay a large penalty to get out of a recording contract with a producer who she accused of sexual assault and abuse. Many prominent women contributed funds for her to do this. This performance reflected a beautiful solidarity and togetherness that captured some of the best of the #MeToo movement, along with a refusal to be broken.

Finally, Kendrick Lamar's performance was powerful and complex. I won't here attempt a further analysis of the song (verses from a number of different songs and freestyles), but the performance was wrestling with the oppression of Black people, the satirical promise of America, and the revenge mentality. In the middle of the song, Dave Chappelle stepped in to say: “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/mexico-city-protest-against-trump-pence-fascist-regime-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Mexico City Protest Against the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime:
“Away with Trump, Away with Peña, Down with the Whole System!”

From the blog of Aurora Roja, voice of the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria, México, January 24, 2018

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Translated from Spanish by revcom.us

In unity with the big protests in several cities in the United States on January 20, a year after the inauguration of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, between 350 and 400 people marched in Mexico City from the Ángel de la Independencia to the U.S. embassy where they held a protest rally. Among the participants: a large contingent of the Unión Popular de Vendedores y Ambulantes, “28 de Octubre” from Puebla, about 45 students from the rural teacher-training school in Tiripetío (in the state of Michoacán), organizations in defense of migrants, the Movimiento Popular Revolucionario, and others.

Among the slogans that were heard: “Away with Trump, Away with [Mexican President Enrique] Peña, Down with the Whole System!” and “NO, In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!” Supporters of the communist revolution also chanted other slogans, such as “Humanity Needs Communist Revolution!” and “The Crisis of the System Has No Solution, the Only Solution Is Revolution! Re, Re, Revolution, Is The, The, The Solution!”

Among other speakers, there was a message of solidarity from a Brazilian. At the end, the Huizache Rap group played. While leafleting, exposing fascism in the United States and the collaborationist government of Mexico, a man told us some of what happened to him: “I am displaced from Veracruz. The narcos took everything from me. I reported it to the authorities but I realized that the army is with them and it would be better to come to this city. We get work here in whatever we can, but I feel real bad....” Only one of the innumerable crimes of the world capitalist-imperialist system.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/awtwns-tunisia-bright-anger-dismal-atmosphere-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

From A World to Win News Service:

Tunisia: Bright anger amid dismal atmosphere

By Sam Albert

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 20, 2018. A World to Win News Service. By Sam Albert. Demonstrations and fighting broke out across Tunisia for about ten days in January in the most important flare-up of popular anger since the toppling of the Ben Ali regime seven years ago. These events are all the more significant in that Western representatives and apologists for the current state of the world have held up Tunisia’s political situation as the most successful outcome of the 2011 “Arab Spring”—”successful,” that is, from the point of view of maintaining the status quo. Actually, this explosion of anger shows that the underlying factors driving that popular revolt in multiple Arab countries are still at work—factors also visible in the similar recent events in Iran.

About 800 people were reportedly arrested. In the first trials, two young men were sent to prison for burning a Tunisian flag, and eight more for setting up a burning traffic barricade during a protest. The authorities have described the protests as mainly violent, and yet the ten-day outbreak included both peaceful gatherings and marches, and fighting with security forces. A new movement of young people calling itself Fech Nestannaw (“What are we waiting for?”) called the first protests against proposed new sales taxes and tax hikes on consumer items like fruit and vegetables, cooking gas and phone and Internet use, on January 4. Within 48 hours the government had about 50 suspected organizers round up and jailed, some for handing out leaflets. A week later, marches in the center of the capital, Tunis, and other major cities called by the parliamentary left and other traditional opposition forces had to face off against massed police. Meanwhile, starting about January 8, especially in protests taking place after dark, youth clashed with police in towns and cities in the country’s most impoverished interior regions and in several of Tunis’s poorest suburbs—the epicenters of the 2010-11 revolt. Businesses and stores (most notably a French supermarket chain) were burned, and police stations and other regime sites were attacked. Army troops were deployed to several small and medium-sized cities.

Different from the 2010-11 Uprising

This was not a repeat of the December 2010-January 2011 uprising, and not just because none of the protests attained the scale of those days. It seems that this time, students and middle class people in the coastal cities have not embraced, to the same degree, the desperate anger of youth in the interior—who seem ready to risk death rather than face another day with no future (after all, the [2010-2011] upheaval was triggered by the public protest suicide by fire of a young street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, whose merchandise had been confiscated by the police).

In the period seven years ago leading to Ben Ali’s downfall, millions of Tunisians of all social classes seemed to speak with one voice demanding that the rulers “Dégage”—Get out. The anger of the most downtrodden brought to life and gave backbone to many in the coastal middle classes, including (and maybe especially) professionals, and even people at the top of society unhappy with (or at least excluded by) Ben Ali.

Reports from contacts in Tunisia paint a picture of a different situation now. Many people do not feel that they understand what is going on and are suspicious and even somewhat cynical, unsure of what to do. The sides in the fighting are much less clear. Some people fear the protests are being manipulated by rival forces in the government (a coalition between the traditionally pro-French heirs of Ben Ali in various factions of the Nidaa Tounes party, and the country’s biggest party, the Islamist Ennadha). The former are said to be encouraging their youth followers to fight alongside the police, and the latter to be encouraging trashing and looting. Rumors state that government functionaries have been seen paying youth in poor neighbourhoods to attack property. No one seems sure whether the small bomb set off in a synagogue on the island of Djerba, the last remaining pocket of what was once Tunisia’s large Jewish community, was the work of Islamists or the government.

Sharply Contradictory and Unstable Situation

The situation is sharply contradictory. On the one hand, there is a profound disappointment and discontent across Tunisian society in the wake of “the revolution,” when the prevailing feeling was that political change (the end of Ben Ali’s regime) and reform (the end of the regime’s monopoly of power and the official stifling of dissent) would lead to a better life. Not only have living conditions deteriorated, especially for the poor and much of the middle classes, due in particular to rising prices as well as the lack of jobs and social services, but there is no longer much hope. As a woman commented, “We are tired of things always going backward, never forward.” Tired may be the key word here. Unlike the contagious euphoria of 2010-11 and the days after, reports from Tunisia indicate a great deal of cynicism and depression. As a journalist perspicaciously pointed out, while social media played a key role in spreading the 2010-11 rebellion, now “You can be in Tunis following Facebook and not really know what’s going on in the country.”

It seems that some in the urban middle classes are uneasy about the anger of those below, afraid of where unbridled revolt might lead—that it might strengthen the Islamists, or bring about a return of a Ben Ali-like openly repressive regime (definitely a possibility, according to the latest report from the Western government-supported think tank the International Crisis Group, the ICG). Both outcomes would mean an end to the freedoms these people in particular now enjoy, like being able to buy different books and discuss politics freely in cafés and other public spaces, participate in formerly forbidden cultural and social events (like the recent LGBTQ film festival) and conduct their private lives more or less as they please.

However, the status quo is very unstable. Tunisia has gone through nine governments over the past seven years because of infighting between its constituent factions, each seeking supremacy rather than long-term coexistence. None of them have been able to achieve solid support or even legitimacy among broad sections of the people. Instead, the two major parties and the Popular Front grouping of traditional “leftists” (whose highest goal is more seats and authority in parliament, and whose most important function is to legitimize parliament) have become increasingly discredited. Many people don’t bother to vote. This political instability, labelled as dangerous by Western watchdogs like the ICG, is in itself fueled by the country’s social instability and an economy totally incapable of meeting the stated demands of the “revolution”—bread, dignity and justice.

Millions of young Tunisians feel they have no acceptable future. This is clearly demonstrated by the once again soaring numbers of youth trying to cross dangerous waters to nearby Italy, and the many thousands of others who have gone to neighbouring Libya or other countries to wage war against what they perceive as the Western way of life, thirsty for vengeance against foreign domination and the oppressors’ hypocritical values. Whether harraga, “sea jumpers” ready to risk death by drowning, or jihadi eager to give their lives in “holy war,” what these two different paths have in common is that many young Tunisians still can’t accept the lives they’ve been given. This is a flagrant symptom of a lethal condition none of the parties can cure.

Move by International Monetary Fund Sparks People’s Anger

The immediate cause of the prospect of increased taxes that made people’s anger overflow was a decision by the International Monetary Fund. This financial institution was set up at the end of the Second World War (along with the World Bank) to stabilize the global financial system and promote “development” in the context of the imperialist system, where the wealth produced by human labour everywhere serves the accumulation of capital based in the imperialist countries that dominate the world. Because the imperialist powers were concerned by what might happen in Tunisia following the fall of Ben Ali and wanted to reinforce their grip on the whole region, the IMF extended large loans to Tunisia. Tunisia has now become one of the world’s most indebted countries. These loans are falling due, and its government needs more loans to pay off old loans, some going back to the time when Ben Ali’s cronies siphoned off considerable amounts of money.

Once again the IMF is offering a line of credit, on the condition that Tunisia increase its ability to reduce its massive government debts by increasing tax revenues, among other measures. In other words, the money meant to stabilize a government slavishly dependent on the IMF has made that government even less stable. The “solution,” for the imperialist powers, is not to enable a government that can meet the needs of the people, but to back and strengthen the repressive forces of the government deeply in their debt. Above all, this means building up the armed forces, especially by the U.S., alongside Tunisia’s former colonial master, France. The West considers the security forces and army the most reliable part of the state, and the possibility of ruling more directly through them is being openly discussed.

Tunisia’s Distorted, Imperialist-Dominated “Development”

Both Ben Ali’s heirs and the Islamist Ennadha party have fully supported following the IMF’s strictures, claiming that development will solve the country’s problems. So has the UGTT, the trade union confederation that served as the tolerated opposition during the Ben Ali years, which itself is split between the political factions in the government. But it has been Tunisia’s development, or more precisely the form this development had to take, that has brought Tunisia to where it is today. The country whose wheat and olives exported to Europe made it the breadbasket of the Roman empire cannot feed its people without imported food. It pays for those imports by funneling capital into export-oriented economic sectors that under the conditions of today’s imperialist-dominated world market can only heighten Tunisia’s dependency on foreign markets and capital, reduce its ability to support itself, and constantly deepen the economic and social chasms within the country, especially between the coastal cities and the interior.

Youth from poor families in the interior feel cut off from the modern world as it is enjoyed by some on the coast and people in the West in general. Their fathers work, when they can, wherever they can, in back-breaking construction, often far away, and their mothers in investor-owned fields producing export crops under the thumb of merciless labour contractors who act as if they own them. Workers in assembly plants and call centres near the coast are at the mercy of fluctuating overseas requirements. The educational system, especially in the technological fields, fills students with a narrow “input” of narrow skills they hope to “output” in a vocation promising a different life than their parents— until at last, emerging with diploma in hand, they tumble into the abyss of unemployment or mindless jobs with no prospects. Official figures put unemployment among young university graduates at 30 percent, twice the overall rate. For millions throughout the country, higher education is a fraud, a form of disguised unemployment. Further, because they are educated and have been able to see other lives through digital media, the situation they are trapped in feels all the more intolerable. The cruelly thwarted hopes all this produces have been and remain one of the sharpest fault lines in Tunisian society.

In the southern interior, the phosphate mines that bring much of the country’s wealth produce serious environmental problems and few jobs for the people who live around them. The coastal tourism “industry” touted as the country’s hope is driven by real estate speculation and prostitution, and the huge number of people trapped and tortured in prostitution reveals what values and future the West has to offer Tunisia. Dependence on tourism is both a symptom and a product of the country’s subordination to imperialism, and it has prevented the balanced development of industry and agriculture in a mainly self-sufficient economy that could serve as the basis for a radically different society. These production relations are still what define the lives of Tunisia’s people.

The Only Real Way Out

The question is not how to advance or at least preserve “democracy” in Tunisia. The bourgeois democratic form of rule (parliamentary democracy) and the Western imperialist governments that have historically promoted that form of rule are responsible for the horrors that billions of people now suffer in oppressed countries like Tunisia throughout the world. Further, even in an imaginary situation where Tunisia were not ruled by traditional and Islamic capitalists whose fortunes are entirely intertwined with the interests of the imperialist system, if somehow the people could freely vote to make basic decisions about their country’s future, they would be overruled by the workings of the imperialist system and its enforcers, as happened in Greece, where the hopes that saw the Syriza government elected have been brutally dashed. There is no way out of this situation except by uprooting and replacing the existing relations of production, the way people produce and exchange the material basis for life, how people work together and for what. This cannot be achieved by trying to use the institutions of the existing state like parliament that reflect, serve and reinforce those relations of production. No, a real revolution requires the overthrow of the state that represent these relations and the exploiting classes, and, because capitalism is a global system, aiming at eliminating classes globally, along with the production relations on which they rest and the social relations and thinking arising from those relations—a communist world.

This is not the point of view of Tunisia’s traditional “left,” particularly the Popular Front whose spokesman is Hamma Hamami. His group’s original position on the new budget before the protests was unclear to many people, but after the protests it has now clearly come out against it and tried to gain prestige (and votes in upcoming municipal elections) by calling for legal marches, while condemning what are commonly called the “night protests.” Although touting itself as the continuation of the 2011 “revolution,” which at least toppled a regime, ever since then the Popular Front has focused its activity on parliament, where it has become closely tied to pro-Western forces most openly slavish to the IMF while also making concessions to Islamism. It has also distinguished itself by its support for the security forces under the Ministry of the Interior and the army. They have learned nothing from the disastrous end of the period after the 2011 exit of Mubarak in Egypt, when in the name of opposing an Islamism whose hunger for power they could no longer conciliate with, the youth movements and “left” supported an army coup that ended up crushing them.

All the parliamentary parties are representatives of the production relations that define the lives of Tunisia’s people and will continue to do so until the overthrow of the state that enforces those relations and the establishment of a new kind of state that makes possible the development of the country’s industry and agriculture in a mainly self-sufficient economy that could serve as the basis for a radically different society and as a base area for world revolution against the imperialist system.

A Tunisian comrade wrote, “The protests are driven by socio-economic circumstances no matter how they were produced, and with the ongoing decline in our situation protests will surely continue. The people have tasted the power of the street and they are not ready to let it go yet.” It’s true that millions have tasted their ability to transform the political situation and thwart the will of their rulers. But the legacy of 2010-11 is contradictory. Millions today seem still determined not to “let go”, to continue fighting, but others have been discouraged by the bitter results of a “revolution” that decisively changed neither the state nor the circumstances of the people and the country. People are right to fear the dangers they face, but even if there is much manipulation going on amid the unrest, this movement’s demands have been just, its targets correct. At the same time, even in the most immediate sense, Tunisia’s young rebels face big problems that have to be solved.

The most central problem is that the reasons for the people’s misery have not been clearly enough understood and no real solution has been brought into sight. Without that, it’s impossible to begin to both unite people broadly and bring into being a core oriented by the most advanced outlook and method in today’s world, the science of communism that Bob Avakian has brought to a new level of development by deeply analysing the positive and negative experience of the communist movement and its thinking. To accomplish these tasks would be very hard, but there’s no other way to build a radical movement that can fight off interference by what people call the “lobbies” (ruling class and parliamentary factions), persist in the face of difficulties and ups and downs, and lead to a real chance for radical change. The radical explosions of anger concentrated among the lower classes and the unquenchable dissatisfaction throughout society, seven years after the magnificent toppling of Ben Ali that set off challenges to the status quo across the region, make the possibility and urgent need for that kind of revolutionary leadership all the more clear.

 

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/528/former-kentucky-pig-chief-if-black-shoot-them-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

What a Former Kentucky Pig Chief Told a Recruit: “If Black, shoot them”

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

When a Louisville Police Department recruit asked Todd Shaw, the acting chief of the Prospect Police Department in Jefferson County, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville, what was the “right thing to do” if he came upon three youths smoking weed, Shaw responded, “Fuck the right thing. If Black shoot them!”

In dealing with one of the Black youth’s parents, Shaw stated, “...if mom is hot then fuck her ... if dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick ... Unless daddy is Black. Then shoot him.”

These racist comments, made in 2016, were discovered in court documents during an investigation into Shaw. The mayor of Prospect told CNN that town officials thought Shaw had “performed well” before his ugly racist shit became public and they were forced to fire him. There are 24 criminal cases that he dealt with that may be thrown out due to his racism.

The recruit was also fired for making racist comments in his Facebook discussions with Shaw, like Black people hide guns in their hair.

In later Facebook exchanges with the recruit, Shaw also made a racist comment about Martin Luther King Jr. and then added, “But because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year so I will take it.” He also stated, “What has POLICING come to when all you can shoot are white people and injured deer. LOL.”

Shaw wrote to the recruit, “For years I have seen the Blacks live off uss (sic) and putting them in one big housing area breeds HUGE peoblems (sic). We don’t see a Muslim problem around here we just see lazy ass people that don’t want to work and that entices more Mexicans to cross the border and take the American jobs.”

Shaw's language may be extreme and right out there, but it corresponds to the actual behavior of pig forces across this country that racially profile, harass, demean, brutalize, and shoot unarmed Black and Brown people.

People must grasp, understand, and act on the truth in the quote from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.
BAsics 1:24

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/rev-club-stand-up-against-assault-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

From the Revolution Club Chicago:

Stand Up Against Trump/Pence Regime’s All-Out Assault on Immigrants!

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A major move is happening right now in the sick Trump/Pence program to “Make America White Again.” In just the last few weeks they have ramped up an all-out assault on immigrants, especially targeting Black and Brown people. People are being arrested, detained, deported, ripped away from their loved ones, and in some cases sent to countries where they will be killed. Laws have changed overnight to declare hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan “illegal” people. The 800,000 Dreamers, young people whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children, are having their lives and futures debated and traded on. Immigrant leaders are being detained and given deportation orders. Sanctuary cities are being targeted for raids and even elected officials have been threatened with arrest.

ALL kinds of people need to be standing up against this, now, not just the immigrants. This assault on immigrants has to be stopped and the whole Trump/Pence regime that is responsible has to be driven out of power. This has everything to do with what this society is going to be in the immediate future and what kind of world we need and are willing to fight for. This whole country was built on slavery and genocide and built its capitalist-imperialist empire by exploiting immigrants and people all over the world. This is what the Trump/Pence regime longs for and aims to take to more savage heights when they say “Make America Great Again” and when they change the laws, and how the whole government works, to more viciously crush people. The fight we have to fight is to come together to make revolution and tear this whole system down, and right now strengthen the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. This country needs to start looking like the women’s march every day with even millions more, including those who are most targeted, until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from power.

Again, ALL kinds of people need to be fighting to stop this, and nobody should be falling for the ways this system tries to play different groups of people they oppress against each other.

Like, “Immigrants are using up the American resources Black people should be getting.” This is just begging for crumbs from a system that set you up in a situation where you can’t get resources and gets you competing with other people it did the same thing to. Worse, the system is getting you to become part of the machinery of crushing other people, taking up that “me first” and “America first” bullshit. The U.S. built its wealth on the backs of slaves and then further built its empire by plundering countries and exploiting their peoples, and you want “to get yours” out of that? And, by the way, if you think unleashing white supremacist attacks on immigrants is going to be good for Black people, go ahead and try to explain to everyone how the kkklansmen, neo-Nazi fascists in the White House and their followers who are whipping up all this shit are going to do right by Black people.

Or, “Black people have already been going through all this, so why should we stand up for the immigrants?” First of all, if you are a human being, get off that heartless shit and stand up for anyone being oppressed and mistreated. Especially if you know what it feels like. Secondly, is this really the kind of world you want? People pitted against each other and assisting in each other’s oppression on the basis of narrow self-interest? If you can see how horrible this is for people to go through, come together with all kinds of people to be part of the fight to PUT AN END to the system that keeps doing it.

The Revolution Club is working to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures, and languages. Be part of fighting for that world, including standing up now against the fascist assault on immigrants. 1) Take this message, get it out to others and post it up everywhere. 2) Go to the website www.revcom.us and watch and spread the video by Bob Avakian, “Why do people come here from all over the world?” 3) Join the protests in support of immigrants. 4) Learn about and join the Revolution Club.

Revolution Club, 312-804-9121, revclub.chi@gmail.com, Facebook.com/revclubchi, 1857 E. 71st Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649

 

Download the PDF of this Revolution Club Chicago poster HERE

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/fascist-pig-dog-bannon-the-people-respond-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

From members of the Revolution Club Chicago:

University of Chicago Cordially Invites Vile Poison to Spew Forth From the Mouth of Fascist Pig-Dog Bannon... The People Begin to Respond

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

White supremacist and fascist Steve Bannon accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business from Professor Luigi Zingales. No date has been set, but in response nearly 50 professors signed an open letter of protest, 100 protesters came out to protest immediately at the Booth School chanting “Say it loud and say it clear: stop inviting fascists here!” and a timely mass public meeting was called for the next day.

The Revolution Club came together to discuss what articles to bring out to the mass meeting and the students at U of C. We thought the article “The Issue Is NOT ‘Free Speech’! The Issue Is FASCISM!” by Sunsara Taylor would be good guidance and a model for what students and faculty should do because it gets into WHY the issue should not be on the terms of “free speech” but why this is a platform to justify, normalize, and allow fascists to consolidate power. We felt we had to connect people up with the need to drive out these fascists and to our upcoming film showing of the 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. We also talked about how the need for people to stand up to the assault on immigrants is connected with this, not least because Bannon is being invited to speak on the topic of “globalization and immigration”! We decided to send one team to the meeting and another out on campus with signs and a loudspeaker to reach out to students broadly and play the BA video clip, “Why do people come here from all over the world?”

Out on campus, many students had heard that Bannon was coming to speak. There were a few yells of “Fuck Bannon!” from students who walked past us and some people were clear and firm that he shouldn’t be speaking on campus. A lot of others hated Bannon but felt he should be allowed to speak because of the importance of the principles of free speech. People argued that if you stop Bannon from speaking, this threatens all free speech. And that the best way to take on Bannon is to defeat his arguments in a debate. Some people didn’t believe this was a big deal.

We struggled with people over all this. To see that Bannon speaking on campus is part of normalizing fascism, that it’s part of a conscious attack on the universities to strengthen the fascist movement, silence critical thinking and dissent and actually CRUSH free speech. We also struggled over what the actual terms of this “debate” were about and asked students whether we should’ve allowed for Nazis to come into our classrooms for a debate or that people had to get organized to drive them out in Nazi Germany. We made the point that free speech IS important and if people really want to fight for free speech they should be rocking the campus with protests to stop Bannon coming and let people everywhere debate THAT!

We connected this up with what is happening to immigrants right now. The all-out assault on immigrants that is driving forward the consolidation of fascism. As well as the overall white supremacy of Bannon and the whole Trump/Pence regime. The actual terror and destruction of people this means, and the need therefore for students to stand up to stop this Bannon event from happening, as part of standing up to drive the whole regime from power. In between speaking out on a loudspeaker, we played the short version of the clip, “Why do people come here from all over the world?” This drew people to us and helped set terms for all the conversations we were having.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, people came together to reject Bannon’s white supremacist agenda, recognizing the implications of legitimizing him by giving him a platform and inviting him to speak and the need to do all we could do to protest his coming to U of C. There was a feeling in the room of urgency, energy, and initiative coming off of the immediate response of protest the day before. This was strengthened the morning of the meeting by the courageous stand of Samantha Eyler, a staff worker under Professor Luigi Zingales. She recused herself from having anything to do with the Bannon event, and after initially being allowed to do that, she was given an assignment as part of preparing for Bannon coming to U of C. She decided to publicly resign from her position and denounce the invitation to Bannon, and she posted her resignation letter to the UChicago Socialists-ISO Facebook page.

One of the questions in the room was whether to call on the university to disinvite Bannon. Some put out proposals to have programs at the same time when Bannon came to speak instead of confrontation, and that this would more reflect the values of the university. It was good that the majority of the room didn’t go with that and thought it would be a good thing if mass opposition and protest made it so that Bannon doesn’t come to speak. We spoke on this, celebrating those who had stood up immediately the day before and came together today to oppose this, and talked about what it means for this fascist leader to come to the university, the need for universities to become fascist-free zones as part of taking on this fascist regime, and contrasted the example of Pastor Niemöller who did nothing as the Nazis came after one group after another.

There were differences among those who wanted to stop Bannon from coming on how to approach this, such as where and how to focus pressure, but the feeling in the room was that this should precisely be part of what we do now. There was talk of how to be disruptive in all kinds of ways and looking at different ways of doing that. Several people proposed civil disobedience, and talked about the need to put bodies on the line while protecting those people who are more marginalized because of who they are.

Another question in the meeting was how to see the relationship between Bannon coming to the university and what is going on throughout society. Some were proposing that the attention on this issue be used to bring attention to other campus issues that are usually ignored. Here, too, it was a good thing that most people didn’t go for this. We helped to draw the lines more clearly, as people had been saying opposed things and not really addressing the question. It would be wrong for this moment to become one in which people’s sights are narrowed to what this campus was facing. This has to become a moment where students’ sights are raised and everyone has to confront what is actually happening to the people of the world, including right now as leaps are being made in attacking immigrants as part of a whole fascist momentum and consolidation.

This became something many people had to speak to, and most people agreed that what was happening at the university needed to become connected to what is happening in society. An English teacher bounced off this point and proposed we do everything we can at the Booth School of Business and turn that space into a place of radical politics with people doing all kinds of things so business as usual couldn’t happen.

The meeting ended with passing the proposals to protest weekly starting next Friday, also to do silent protest of Zingales when he teaches, holding a banner-making party, and to make sure that if Bannon does come, that there is massive mobilization of protest. Everyone had come together with the focus of how to organize this opposition to Bannon, and this represented a very positive beginning. A lot of the main questions that did come out, like the need to prevent fascists from speaking on campus and the issue of free speech, and the responsibility of students to be part of opposing this regime, have to do with whether and how people understand that there is a fascist regime in power remaking society and doing tremendous harm to the planet and humanity. This will have to be struggled out further as people are coming together and acting to create a response that is commensurate to what is needed to oppose Bannon’s invitation to speak at U of C, and this will be an important part of building the urgently needed movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018


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

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

January 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a reader:

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


Photo Courtesy of IG: LyndonEugene

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/remembering-kate-millett-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Amid Outpourings of Women’s Anger…

Remembering Kate Millett

By Mary Lou Greenberg

February 3, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The strong and joyous Women’s Marches across the country made me think of Kate Millett, who died on September 6, 2017, a few days short of her 83rd birthday. 

Radical feminist writer, artist, and activist since the 1960s antiwar and women’s movements, Kate Millett called herself a “troublemaker.” She was, in the best sense of the word, daring to challenge and upend the status quo in many arenas, and most of all the crushing weight of patriarchy. She relished taking on the misogyny, the hatred and cruelty toward women of political patriarchs of various stripes and guises, and she challenged others to do it, as well. 

She is best known for her radical work of theory, history and cultural criticism, Sexual Politics, published in 1970. A product of her involvement with the growing women’s liberation movement, it attempted, in her words, “to formulate a systematic overview of patriarchy as a political institution.”

In Sexual Politics, Millett drew on the work of historians, anthropologists and political theorists, including Friedrich Engels’ The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, to critique the notion that patriarchy, including traditional marriage and the family, is the natural social order and that male dominance and female subservience are based in biology and, therefore, inevitable. Sexual Politics exposed Sigmund Freud’s “habitual masculine bias” in his theory of female psychology (a very bold thing to do then), and took on the misogyny in the writings of literary icons including D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller and Norman Mailer, among other things.

Millett ended her book with a call for “freeing humanity from the tyranny of sexual-social category and conformity to sexual stereotype – as well as abolishing racial caste and economic class,” and liberating women from their “immemorial subordination.” 

Millett, however, never made the leap to grasping and applying a fully scientific method and understanding of society, and in different ways ran counter to it. This included the way that the mode of production, that is, the ways in which production is carried out in capitalist society determines and shapes social relations and values, and the need for revolution to bring into being new production and social relations and totally new values as leaps toward liberating women and emancipating humanity. She never broke free of working within and radically changing the current framework. Yet she made valuable contributions. For instance, her insistence that women’s oppression is neither biologically rooted nor inevitable helped open peoples’ minds to the possibility of real change and to refuse to accept male domination. 

Sexual Politics hit like an earthquake. Time magazine put her on its cover. Amid controversy and vitriolic attacks as well as considerable praise, Sexual Politics quickly became a bestseller.

Following her death, feminist author Carol Adams wrote in the New York Times:

[I]t was Ms. Millett’s book that made us feminists… In 1963, Betty Friedan had called the “feminine mystique” the problem with no name. It was Ms. Millett who gave it a name — sexual politics — and explained its cause: patriarchal society. By introducing the concept of “patriarchy as a political institution,” she equipped her readers to become their own theorists of culture … helping us perceive the power structures in what had previously been cast as apolitical terrain: the home; literature; romantic relationship. It felt so liberating to realize that we could follow her lead. We could take this fundamental insight to our jobs, our schools, our marriages — and to politics itself. Theory mattered. It was capable of propelling real change. (September 7, 2017)

A breadth of vision, knowledge, creativity and concern for humanity

Millett had a breadth of vision, knowledge, creativity and concern for humanity that could fill books, and she wrote many, including Flying (1974) and Sita (1977) about her sexuality and coming out as lesbian; The Loony-Bin Trip (1990), about being forcibly institutionalized for mental illness and a cry against all such treatment; and The Politics of Cruelty (1994), an exposure of state-sanctioned torture of prisoners.

There are a couple of examples I wanted to share.

Kate Millett was a visual artist as well as a writer. In 1970, Millett was denounced in the U.S. House of Representatives for her artwork of a wooden cage housing a porcelain toilet with a U.S. flag stuffed in it. Titled “The American Dream Goes to Pot,” it was created for “the People’s Flag Show” art exhibition in New York City.  

In 1979, Millett and her longtime partner and spouse Sophie Keir traveled to Iran soon after the U.S.-installed Shah had been forced out and the new reactionary Islamic regime headed by Ayatollah Khomeini had taken power, an experience she wrote about in Going to Iran (1982). She’d been invited to speak at the March 8 International Women’s Day celebration in Tehran. Shortly after they arrived, Khomeini announced that all women must wear the veil (chador), and the planned celebration turned into a huge women’s protest march, braving not only the mullahs but groups of infuriated men bent on enforcing Khomeini’s orders. The two jumped in and participated fully. For that they were arrested and expelled from Iran. Years later, some revolutionary Iranian women who had been part of the march told me they were thrilled that Kate Millett had joined them.

Kate Millett—Troublemaking to the end

Kate Millett had a broadness of mind and an unquenchable radical spirit, and her important theoretical work continues to resound with truth, insight and relevance. She continued to speak out against cruelty and injustice throughout her life and worked with others, including revolutionary communists, in an open, non-sectarian way, with boldness and spirit. She was passionate about abortion rights and LGBTQ rights, and participated in the 2017 Women’s March in NYC in a wheelchair, proudly holding a sign with her name.

In the great endeavor to bring about a new world, I feel confident that the work of Kate Millett, along with her bold troublemaking spirit, breadth of vision and joyous heart that touched and influenced so many, will contribute to getting there.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/528/trump-pence-plans-to-keep-open-and-expand-guantanamo-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Trump/Pence Regime Plans to Keep Open—and Expand—Guantánamo Bay Torture Center

February 1, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

In his January 31 State of the Union speech, Donald Trump said that he is “going to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay” located at the U.S naval base in Cuba. What he called “detention facilities” is in fact a torture center where the U.S. has illegally detained, brutalized and dehumanized people. (See the revcom.us American Crime series article on Guantánamo.) Trump also said the U.S. was going to “chase people down” (those deemed as “enemy combatants”) and imprison more of them at Guantánamo.

This is hugely criminal in itself. But there are reports that the Trump/Pence regime plans to do a lot more than that at Guantánamo Bay.

The Miami Herald reported last August that Trump’s Pentagon had requested a half-billion dollars for construction to expand the base. Funds have already been approved to build new barracks for 848 “prison troops.” Also in the works is a new hospital and new housing for the current workforce of about 2,200 Jamaicans and Filipinos, plus some other new construction.

But what is most disturbing, and not being talked about, is the proposed construction of what is being called a “13,000-migrant tent city and housing for 5,000 U.S. forces” in an unused corner of the 45-square-mile base. The Herald did not say whether the location of the tent city is part of the actual detention center. According to the Herald, “A public-address system atop utility poles is also to be added… The migrants, according to design plans released with the $25 million to $100 million project solicitation, are to be housed in five pop-up tent cities and a 900-person medical unit.”

The Herald article said the “migrant camp project is a bit mysterious … spokesmen for the Navy, Southcom and the Department of Homeland Security were unable to say why the military had concluded it needed to bring in and house 5,000 U.S. forces and other staff at the base to run an encampment housing 13,000 people.” Further, “DHS [Department of Homeland Security], spokesman David Lapan said by email that the department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] division ‘was not directly involved in this contract.’ ICE, he said, ‘does not have any plans to use this facility for any new/additional detention.’”

The U.S. base at Guantánamo has a population of about 5,500, including military personnel, about 2,200 Filipino and Jamaican workers, and the 41 prisoners at the torture center. The “migrant camp project” is clearly not for the base’s migrant workers, since there is new housing already being built for them. And what does it mean to have tent city housing of 13,000 along with additional housing for 5,000 more U.S. forces? Why would they need a force of 1 military person for every 2.5 people housed? These are questions that need to be asked and answered.

According to the Herald, “The Army holds regular training exercises there, spending millions of dollars to rehearse a mock migration crisis. This year [2017], it flew in 400 troops plus Homeland Security and Department of State officials, and housed them around the base for the drill, which was closed to press coverage.” But there were two extremely devastating hurricanes that hit the Caribbean last year, and the military showed no ability to be prepared for any type of “migration crisis.”

Here’s what we do know. The Trump/Pence regime’s fascist “law and order” program means intensifying repression, especially on Black, Latino and other oppressed people. Trump has called for locking up those who oppose him, including opponents in the ruling class like Hillary Clinton. He has called for banning Muslims from entering the country. He has stepped up the rounding up of immigrants and has taken away Temporary Protected Status from hundreds of thousands who have come to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Central America and elsewhere. He has called for getting rid of those he labels “bad guys.”

So, who are those 13,000 that the fascist Trump/Pence regime may put in Guantánamo?

Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant pastor who was imprisoned by the Hitler regime from 1937 to 1945, said after the defeat of Nazi Germany:

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

A fascist America under the Trump/Pence regime is not exactly the same as fascist Germany under Hitler. But if you understand the Niemöller quote, then you can get a sense of who might be forced into the proposed Guantánamo tent city.

 

SHUT DOWN GUANTÁNAMO!

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

In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/tacoma-wash-peoples-tribunal-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

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.

Overall, people were receptive to the Refuse Fascism message, and about 90 percent got Refuse Fascism flyers (including some in Spanish), which included a call from Refuse Fascism Seattle for a “Maru and Immigrants Must Stay! Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” protest the next day at the federal building and ICE office in Seattle.

The Refuse Fascism contingent had a handmade banner saying “Maru+Immigrants Must Stay, Trump/Pence Must Go.” A woman from NOW had a sign including the words “no fascism” and “NOW.” There were several signs that had the word fascism on them, such as “#fascism” and “No fascism.” Some other signs and banners were: “End Deportations,” “End Detentions,” “Not one more deportation,” “Hands off Maru.”

A woman said from the stage what immigrants are experiencing now was fascism. Another speaker said people need to do more than hold signs, that taxes we all pay support all of this, and we need some kind of society change. A choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

A number of speakers in Spanish and English exposed what goes on at the NWDC: people being held in limbo, their futures and that of their families unknown, while being subjected to conditions of abuse and sensory deprivation, which is torture by international standards.

The verdict of the People’s Tribunal was delivered: The NWDC denies healthcare, conducts retaliation against people standing for their human rights (transferring them and putting in solitary), denies proper nutrition, allows no recreation, provides no counsel or knowledge of rights, and conducts forced labor from which it profits. Conclusion: The NWDC and ICE are guilty of human rights abuses. It was also noted that this is occurring on occupied lands of the Puyallup indigenous people. The resulting demand: shut down all detention centers nationwide, provide records of all these abuses, release all detainees now, reparations in the form of dollars and medical care, dismantle ICE and other organizations of this kind, stop persecution and harassment of all immigrants, and return this land that NWDC is built on to the indigenous people.

In January, Maru Mora-Villalpando announced publicly that she got a deportation notice letter in December saying she must appear at a hearing at ICE, and that she would be told the actual date of appearance later. This is taking place in the context of increasing targeting of leaders of immigrant rights movement across the U.S. At the People’s Tribunal rally at NWDC in Tacoma, Maru said the online petition on her behalf now has almost 10,000 signatures. There have also been international support/demonstrations on Maru’s behalf.

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/join-in-coordinated-efforts-to-promote-bob-avakian-film-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Join in coordinated efforts to promote Bob Avakian’s
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America
A Better World IS Possible

February 6, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Announcing coordinated efforts for the month-long special effort to promote the talk and Q&As from Bob Avakian. We also look forward to hearing from you on scheduled screenings, all the other aspects of the plan... and your ideas, experiences, and questions.

The following national pushes should be seen as nodal points in a month of overall activity and outreach. Think big and broad... what BA speaks to in this compelling and substantive talk and in the Q&As are the most serious answers to the most urgent questions.

In every aspect of this plan, include:

* a public showing on Sunday afternoon or evening that you can be building towards in all your efforts

* social media: ask people to post/tweet/gram about the talk on their social media, get them to follow @tuneintorevcom on the spot, take pictures and video of your outreach, get video testimonials and more.

* organize, organize, organize: everyone you meet should be brought into the process of getting deeply into this talk... and getting it out to others. Strategize with people about their networks and circles... and follow up right away. Make plans together and work with them to see it through. This is likely going to be controversial on many levels... and learning from, and joining that controversy is essential and overall positive even if, in the short run, it has negative elements. We really need to change the terms of debate societally. But spontaneously a lot of people don’t want to “ruffle feathers,” so for this and other reasons, end up backing off. We need to learn more about these pulls on people, and struggle it through—in a good way—learning from them, and working with them to understand all this more deeply, through the back and forth and ups and downs.

 

Friday, February 9 - Monday, February 12

Make a splash in neighborhoods, busy transit hubs, busy downtown areas and more.

Go out where crowds are gathered in creative and dynamic outreach... do video projections of clips from the talk... take a TV truck or van for on-the-spot showings... play 30-second clips between train stops and blitz with the palm cards and an announcement... all out with the palm cards for the film, putting them in every mailbox, car windshield, and hand to hand... coordinated with a big push on social media.

(Read here for instructions for building your own moving movie theater!)

Make your plans ASAP and start organizing for these now!

 

Friday, February 16 - Monday, February 19

A weekend of concentrated phone banking. This is Presidents’ Day weekend—an important time to get into the real history of the U.S. and its links to the fascist regime of today.

Invite groups of people to do this together—call your extended family, political contacts, reach out to people of disproportionate influence, anyone who has expressed interest in the movement for revolution or who has deep concerns about the future of humanity. We’ll post a suggested phone script this week, and we look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

This phone calling can and should start now—especially to organizations, churches etc. But we’ll work together on that weekend aiming for a particular leap in contributions and scheduling collective showings at people’s homes.

 

Tuesday, February 20 - Wednesday, February 28

All out to the campuses with boldness and radical simplicity—aiming for a major impact and to begin a process of making BA’s work known and engaged among students and professors.

There is a huge and urgent need for the campuses to be shaken up... to link in with and learn from the anger and agonizing people feel, and to challenge the complacency. People need to understand the roots of this regime, be challenged to act and get into the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, the architect of a new communism, which concentrates the way out of the horrors of this system and the potential for a radically different, and far better, world.

Your plan should be multifaceted, aiming to transform, but also learn from and influence the discourse and debate. While this week should represent a major push, it shouldn’t be seen as a flash in the pan—but the beginning of a process.

Saturate the campus with materials about the talk and about BA, various quotes from the film, from BAsics and from revcom.us. These should be unignorable—themselves shaking people out of the day to day. Have tables in and around campus aiming to reach out broadly. Our work should combine mass flyering and going deeply with people in active social investigation. Organize a range of small discussions and clip showings. Go to events happening on campus. Reach out to professors asking to speak in their classes. Work with student groups and others to organize viewings on campus: these can be formal and informal... in a classroom, at a dorm etc. Do nighttime projections in the busy areas around campus. This whole process should be very welcoming, full of learning and struggle—learn from how BA goes at this in the Q&A in this talk.

(For an example of this kind of multifaceted approach, read this correspondence.)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/making-breakthroughs-promoting-bob-avakian-at-campus-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Fighting to make breakthroughs in taking Bob Avakian and the new communism to a university campus—some recent experience

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

We are writing from a team that has been doing work on a major campus aimed at making Bob Avakian and his work known throughout the campus and bringing forward cohorts of students, including graduate students, who are engaging with and spreading this work to many others—inspired by an appreciation of what it would mean if this was known and contending in society overall. We took a multilayered approach to this—with radical simplicity—developing forms that are centered around bringing people directly to BA’s work and then posing the contradiction to them to solve: that people do not know about this work and need to, and what they do know is far too filled with dismissal without having engaged it at all. We’ve stepped with the orientation spoken to in “BA: A Contended Question.

Overall, our work has been a mix of sometimes just doing the mass flyering aiming for a real saturation and other times going more deeply in discussions with people with an approach of active social investigation.

This means talking with people about BA and the revolutionary breakthrough concentrated in the new communism, talking about the basic questions of problem and solution... and exploring how they see this and other questions. And then going back and forth, joining struggle over important differences but also posing contradictions and questions and pointing people back to BA’s work.

We are also actively seeking people who are awake or awakening to the burning political questions of the day and aiming to link up in united struggles... going back and forth with people about how they see the current situation and unite together to discuss things we can do together going forward (joint programs on campus, at Revolution Books etc.).

We’ve also tried to learn more about the political and ideological terrain on the campus: What are the questions people are debating, how to understand them, what are the questions we should be speaking to... on every level and in every sphere?

On materials:

* We really encourage people to get BA’s work directly into people’s hands. Whether it be books, articles, quotes, or film clips—this is the single best way to introduce people to this revolutionary leader. In addition, we encourage people to be getting into—and getting out to others—the interview with Ardea Skybreak, Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian. This is not just something to learn from (as important as that is!!), but also to get out to others. This is an incredible introduction to the significance of BA’s work and a basic and exciting overview of the new synthesis of communism, and the leadership of BA, and what difference it can make in the world. Skybreak challenges wrong assumptions and common prejudices about the state of the world and what kind of change is needed, and what kind of leadership is needed for that change. She’s also a living and vibrant example of a high level intellectual working in the framework of the new communism, and that comes through the interview as a whole.

Copies should be sold to professors and students, in particular to grad students.

In our broad work, we also made sure that people took a copy of a brochure from The Bob Avakian Institute that explains its mission and talks about who Bob Avakian is and lists his key works. (For copies, contact them through their website.) We included flyers from Insight Press for The New Communism and Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, an Interview with Ardea Skybreak, as well as a palmcard for BA’s new talk. We’ve also been sending links to the official bio of BA, that’s available on The BA Institute website.

In terms of materials, it’s important to set goals and evaluate how you’re doing in relation to them all the way through.

With those as foundation, here are the other aspects of our plan:

* We’ve worked to develop a good understanding of the lay of the land—a good map of the campus and student housing, where departments are, where students hang out between classes, where they live and dine and spend their weekends and nights—the feel and flow of the life of the campus. And we’re also working to learn more of the terrain politically... who’s coming alive to the urgent political questions of the day, where do they go to get involved in things, what are the intellectual debates and discussions on campus, what professors and grad students are doing important work, etc.?

* Every day, important and thought provoking quotes by BA were posted on bulletin boards and kiosks all over campus—different ones—day after day. The first ones we posted were BAsics 4:10 and BAsics 3:22. This took a small, dedicated street team. 400 copies of each quote would go up. These letter-size posters also told people where to come for an informal discussion, at a café on campus for instance. We also experimented with making an eight-foot A-frame display with a whole series of quotes that promoted a screening of BA’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. This was sort of like a portable wall of quotes. We thought it would stop people more than it did, but we want to experiment with graphics and other eye catching displays.

* We set up a table with nice displays—passing out these same quotes and announcements, but with some focus on getting into deeper discussions, having key works available at the table, and asking people on the spot to engage with the work and invite others into this. We found two cafés that we set up outside of that had large outdoor areas as well (we’re somewhere with good weather!)—one next to the main 24-hour library and the other at a key intersection of the art, music, and anthropology departments, and the law school. (There’s another busy intersection by the science departments we want to go to as well.) The idea is that these could also become places where people bring others and meet each other, where informal scheduled discussions could be held and the cohorts would take on a kind of physical presence as well—along with other forms this might take as people reach out to others in their circles. We are also experimenting with the dorms and other kinds of student housing for the weekends... doing a table outside around brunch time... and finding what other kinds of social life we could be in the midst of.

* In the discussions we’ve been having with people—one on one or in small groups—we have been learning from the Skybreak interview. This is a model for anyone who sees the need to contend around BA’s work. There she wields the content in a real living way, joined to the key questions of the revolution epistemologically, politically, and ideologically, and does so while principally driving people to get into BA’s work in its own right. There’s really nothing that replaces this.

In this, we are also really aiming for different kinds of group discussions: people inviting us into their dorms, to their student groups or social groups, to their housing co-ops... aiming for much more dynamic ferment.

And this is key: organize people at every step. We realized early on that we weren’t sufficiently putting the problem to people: BA’s work is a world historic breakthrough for humanity, and even as people are just finding out about it and may end up having important differences, this needs to be known and engaged in every corner of society... how can they be part of this? And in this, as we mentioned above, we also talk with people about why BA is controversial and why that’s a good thing.

* We found that nighttime projections have a special impact. We did projections of quotes and video clips on a building next to a row of restaurants that are packed with people on weekends. We ran clips from the new film on the Trump/Pence regime. The projection of quotes combined with a powerful image available on revcom.us here―with music (in this case John Coltrane) in the background really drew people in and people would spend time going over the quotes and then would want to talk.

* We also enlisted the help of a few volunteers who haven’t been able to join us on campus. They’ve helped to amass email lists for professors, graduate students, lecturers, etc. We wrote to those teaching classes this semester with a request to make a classroom announcement about our next screening or discussion. A number responded that we could, and we also got some interesting comments back from professors that are important to follow up on, aiming for deeper discussions. They also created a spreadsheet of classes with instructors and days and times that could be sorted—so we could both flyer classes and talk to the profs about coming back to do announcements. We worked together to develop simple announcements—reading the quotes or posing the question that would be the topic of the discussion and including a short announcement about who BA is: the architect of a new communism. We also found good buildings where many, many students would be waiting to go into the classrooms and you could get the flyers out broadly and catch people coming out.

* A calendar of on-campus events was put together—finding announcements on bulletin boards and researching department websites for panels, forums, film screenings, etc. We put it on Google calendar so anyone could access it. We did some simple but substantive preparation for the event, learning about who the people were, with some discussion ahead of time of how we might want to intervene, while being open to learning from what happens at the event itself. We also made conscious decisions about what key materials to bring. We went to them and participated in the open discussions, bringing BA’s works into this in important ways. We listened to what people were saying at these events and weighed in with substance. There were those who would disagree and others who welcomed what was said and wanted to know more.

* It’s also worth reading the daily student newspaper on campus... you’ll get a feel for what’s happening on campus and how the political and ideological questions are being posed. It’s also worth looking for good op-eds and articles and contacting those students. You can also submit op-eds yourself on key questions, but even better would be to work with students to do this.

* While the main emphasis has been on reaching students (including graduate students), there was some going out to professors—with a focus on those we thought could have a major impact if they engaged the work and contributed to the mission of The Bob Avakian Institute, of making BA known to the broadest possible audience. We are working to set up meetings with a representative of the Institute, and would like to work towards more collective discussions as well. Roundtables with grad students and profs... more official department brown-bag lunches, etc. And talking with people in centers and departments who are scheduling events, panels, etc. for next semester.

* Finally, and this is something we were not able to implement but we need to do: Get this going on social media. Sign people up right away... there should be a lot of spreading of the work and getting people to come to informal discussions by the people we are meeting.


We realize there’s a lot here... and you shouldn’t feel you have to do every piece of this. But more arguing for this kind of multilayered approach—both aiming for broad impact and deep, active social investigation.

Through this, we have to keep stepping back to what we’re aiming to accomplish and measuring things against that. It’s pretty easy to fall into a more aimless approach, so we need to keep measuring everything we’re doing from the goal of having a mass impact with the actual engagement with BA’s work, and bring forward cohorts of followers—all setting out to radically transform the terrain and the discourse with the new communism.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/442/a-moving-movie-theater-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

A Moving Movie Theater to Bring BA to the Neighborhoods

June 6, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Plans were being made for the Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution, Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA to get out everywhere to people in an important neighborhood in our city—-on hundreds of telephone poles, lining fences and construction walls, at bus stops, and on cars. The Revolution Club would be out in this sprawling community–and a request was made to find a way to bring footage from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION-NOTHING LESS! to the neighborhood in a special way as part of this.

A team of people came together—people who had worked on bringing projections, sound and big visuals to big public gatherings in the past.  Maybe you have seen the pictures in Revcom.us of projections of BA’s works—quotes—and image up against the walls of buildings or seen the huge Stolen Lives street wide rolling displays.

Creating a movie theater on wheels that could run all day in the neighborhoods—with big sound and a big screen—would be a challenge. For one thing—it would have to be seen in broad daylight when the sun would make the image hard to see–and it would have to be mobile in order to impact the very sprawling neighborhoods in our city–and it would need to run for hours using lots of electricity.

We were able to pull most of the materials together from things we already had. The rest came together because everyone jumped in to solve problems knowing the difference it would make to be able to have this out there in a way that people could really see and hear it.

So here is what the team created and here is how you can do this too.

You will need:

  1. One EZ Corner tent—with pipes cut to fit the inside of a truck. You get the corner fixtures from this company - http://www.ezcorners.com/ezcorners.asp?x=1#TentFittings—and they also make these cement block stands that keep the tent weighted down.
  2. You use black shade cloth which can be purchased in the garden department of Home Depot or online. You can also purchase 90% shade cloth online. We doubled the cloth so that the cloth walls would provide a lot of shade which is needed if you want to see the TV image during the day—but also would be porous enough so they would be able to deal with wind when the truck moved. We used a sewing machine to create a hem with black canvas cloth to reinforce the edges—and then put grommets in so that this could be attached to the frame with zip ties.
  3. A frame was built inside of the bed of the truck using 2' x 4'’sand a $40.00 tilting flat screen TV mount. This was designed to be strong enough to support the big TV and there are simple braces to make sure things do not move around. This takes some carpenter skills and some basic tools—electric saw and drill. Please note in the photos the way that the wood is cut to use the truck frame to keep everything in place.
  4. The Revolution Club made one special request. The sound needed to be very loud and very clear. They wanted people to come out from their homes and the shops—drawn by the powerful voice of BA. We used a really kick ass speaker. In this case it was a 1000 watt QSC 10 K speaker—self powered—that makes everything sound really rich and loud. These have a built in amplifier and mixer so they are really easy to use. Ask someone who deejays where you can get a good speaker to use. It is worth a fundraising effort to have one. Have a good mic with a long cable for live agitation and readings from the proclamation.
  5. A really big flat screen TV.
  6. And most importantly—you need a good steady and safe power source. We were asked to make sure that this could run continuously for 4 to 6 hours. We ended up having a 3500 watt power inverter professionally installed into the truck. People who install car stereos do this—and you do not want to mess with electricity if you don’t know what you are doing. The truck, with the engine running, becomes a generator.


It is optional—but you can use lattice material on the inside which enables you to staple gun decorations to the walls. Banners can also be attached to the frame of the black box and to the truck itself.

And we got $3.00 cans of flat black spray paint and made sure everything was BLACK—which makes it look very cool.

Oh yeah, you need to have all of your video clips organized and on a player that interfaces with the TV and sound system—make sure you have the right cords and backup cords and someone dedicated to be a deejay. A DVD player or a laptop or a tablet will be needed as well.

There are some photos on the right here.

And please drive carefully—we are using 25 miles an hour as a good speed limit.

Check with your city’s sound codes.  Some cities require permits.

P.S. We can send a drawing of the TV stand if people have difficulty figuring it out. Use 2 x 4 / wood and long Philips headed 3.5 inch construction screws and the carpenter said to make sure you pre-drill the holes before screwing things in.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/trumps-daca-offer-is-a-malicious-trap-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Reality Check: Trump’s DACA Offer Is a Malicious Trap

February 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

John Kelly, the supposed “adult” but in reality the fascist thug who serves as Chief of Staff to Fascist-in-Chief Donald Trump, said Tuesday that about one million immigrant youths eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) who didn’t apply were “too afraid,” or “too lazy to get off their asses.” Kelly should shut the fuck up.

These youths were brought to this country as infants or children by parents who risked life and limb to get here. More often than not both their parents and they have worked endlessly doing difficult jobs for long hours at low pay, often below minimum wage. They have lived in urban slums and rural wastelands, subjected to harassment from the police, ICE, and racists.

Trump and the rest of his fascist regime are subjecting the approximately 800,000 immigrant youths who did apply for DACA to slow torture by dangling the prospect of extending their status, now set to expire on March 5. The price they demand in return: heavily repressive measures along the U.S.-Mexico border, intensified deportations, and harsh restrictions on legal immigration.

These fascists act as if their offer of that “path to citizenship” to about one million more people is an act of generosity. It is precisely the opposite:  it is a malicious attempt to force one million more young people “out of the shadows” and get them to turn over information about themselves and their families to the very government that is promising, and beginning to carry out, a heavy surge in repression against immigrants, and which insults them at every turn. These one million people are being forced to choose between coming forward and jeopardizing not just themselves, but families, co-workers, schoolmates, and friends, or living lives in which any encounter with the authorities, however small, can lead to deportation.

NO! Stand Up Now with the Immigrants! 
This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/us-gears-up-for-possible-nuclear-assault-on-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Is the U.S. actually preparing for a war—possibly a nuclear war—with North Korea?

What is driving this conflict, what is the history between the U.S. and North Korea?

What can be done to protest and prevent such a war?

Virtual Teach-in

February 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam began to develop in the 1960s, “teach-ins” were held on campuses throughout the country. Students, professors, and others came together; they learned about and taught each other the history and culture of Vietnam, what the U.S. government and military were doing there, the reality behind the platitudes and outright lies the government used to get people to go along with its unjust war. The teach-ins were important in shaping the understanding of many people about the war, and compelling them to act in protest against it.

The materials on this page provide a foundation for “virtual teach-ins” on the conflict between the United States and Korea. Explore this material, use it to dig into the questions posed above.

 

Start by watching the video clip of Bob Avakian slamming the “Great Tautological Fallacy”this is KEY to understanding how to assess what is actually happening in the U.S. threats against North Korea, and how in that light people are being normalized into accepting the unacceptable. Watch it with others, show it in classrooms and meetings; get it out widely on social media.

And for a fundamental orientation, together with this clip, get into and spread these passages by Bob Avakian from his book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.

“American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.” BAsics 5:7

“Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.” BAsics 5:8

“These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.” BAsics 1:7

Is the U.S. actually preparing for a war—possibly a nuclear waragainst North Korea?

 

Check out these recent materials from Revolution:

The Dismissal of Victor Cha: Trump Moves Closer to Military Attack on North Korea

Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review: Expanding and Strengthening the Imperial Death Machine

Trump’s State of the Union Address... a Nazi-Like Rally

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

 

A broad range of forces are sounding the alarm. These articles also speak to the potential for war with North Korea:

The Military Has Seen the Writing on the Wall,” by Uri Friedman, in The Atlantic

We Are Sleepwalking Toward War with North Korea,” by Zack Beauchamp

It Is Now 2 Minutes to Midnight” Press release from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, January 25, 2018

What are the root causes of this conflict?

 

Check out these articles from Revolution:

American Crime: U.S. Invasion of Korea - 1950

Michael Slate Interviews History Professor Bruce Cumings
What “Everybody Knows” about North Korea—and the Real History of U.S. Aggression

These articles also speak to the roots of this conflict:

 “The Long, Dirty History of U.S. Warmongering against North Korea,” by Christine Hong, in The Progressive

Americans once carpet-bombed North Korea. It's time to remember that past,” by Bruce Cumings, in The Guardian

In Their Own Words:

See what Trump and others in his inner core say about attacking North Korea.

Donald Trump "[North Korea] will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
(Speaking to reporters, August 8, 2017)

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime" (Speech to the United Nations, September 19, 2017)
Defense Secretary
James Mattis
"I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power... make no mistake, any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming."
(October 27, 2017, in Seoul, South Korea)

"We're doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically—everything we can ...Ultimately, our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines, so they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength, shoulder to shoulder.
(October 26, 2017, to U.S. troops in South Korea)
H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor "I think it (the possibility of war in Korea) is increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem."
(Speaking to the National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, December 2, 2017)

"We're not committed to a peaceful resolution (with North Korea). We're committed to a resolution."
(December 18, 2017, BBC interview)
Mike Pence, Vice President "Our enemies should never doubt the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the United States of America ...America always seeks peace, but if we are forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will do so with military power that is effective and overwhelming... Now, more than ever, your commander in chief is depending on you to be ready."
(October 27, 2017, speaking at Minot Air Force Base, home to 26 B-52 bombers and 150 intercontinental ballistic missile sites.)

"Under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready."
(April 18, 2017, speaking aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in Japan)
Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina "If there's going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong Un, leader of the North Korean regime], it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die here. And (Trump) told me that to my face."
"There is a military option: to destroy North Korea's nuclear program and North Korea itself."
(Interviews on CNN and NBC, July and November 2018)
Donald Trump "We think the Olympics [in South Korea in February] will go very nicely and after that, who knows?"
(February 1, 2018, when asked if there will be a U.S. war with North Korea soon.)

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 5:7

Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 5:8

These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:7

How can we begin to build resistance and protest?

 

As you watch and read this material on this page—take the Korea quiz and print it up and take it to classrooms, take it out to malls, public transit, union meetings, churches and other religious institutions. Take it to meetings of Indivisible and other groups expressing opposition to Trump.

KOREA QUIZ

Before You Go Along With and Give Your Silent Approval to the Murder of Tens of Millions Koreans, Take This Quiz and See How Much You Really Know!

 

Learn from the people in Honolulu who held an emergency protest immediately after the false missile alert. Call for protests in your area—even a few people taking a principled stand for the interests of humanity can make a huge difference in times of crisis, and can grow quickly.

 

Print and distribute Carl Dix’s challenge to debate anyone over the U.S. threats of war against North Korea.

 

Share and spread the images below on social media.

Send reports, images, and videos to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

Share with social media.

Share with social media.

Share with social media.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/chicago-clergy-protest-stand-with-the-dreamers-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

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.”

Clergy and members of churches and social justice organizations came from across Chicago—Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Unitarian. There were priests from Spanish-speaking parishes and African-American clergy. Dreamers and immigrants’ rights organizations were joined by clergy and organizations from across the city and from several suburbs.

The rally began with loud, defiant beats from Korean drummers that energized the gathering and set a determined tone. People carried signs saying, “Stand with Dreamers,” “Save TPS” [Temporary Protected Status], “We shall love the Immigrant.” One group had signs representing T’ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which said in English and Hebrew, “Don’t stand by the blood of your neighbor,” a quote from Leviticus.

A theme of the rally was the love of god for all people and the need for religious people to express it—to welcome the stranger and stand with those who are mistreated and cast out. A Dreamer spoke of the uncertainty and fear she has experienced for years, then turned to the group and said she felt safe and welcome among them. A high point came when one of the religious leaders stated that he was standing with the Dreamers and refugees—and asked the crowd if they, too, would stand with them. He was answered with a roaring “Yes we will!” which was repeated as he asked more questions, including: Will you mobilize your congregation, bring five more clergy to the next rally, and be present yourself at a protest on March 5?

Among participants there were various ideas of what to do and what it will take to stop the deportations, from keeping the pressure up on elected representatives to needing to be in the streets. One clergyperson announced her church had mobilized to raise $7,000 to help pay the costs of DACA applications and then had gone to a nearby university to find DACA youth in need.

Overall there was a spirit of people wanting to step up to meet an extremely serious situation. A woman who volunteers with a Jewish organization said she sees Trump changing the whole way the government is organized so that he can dictate. A Latino who had heard of the protest from a friend said he came because the attacks on immigrants are so serious. A few people spoke of the ACT-UP slogan “Silence = Death.” The breadth of this gathering, the spirit of resistance, and the commitment to organize widely to defend immigrants are important seeds of what’s needed and what people need to stand up for!

Refuse Fascism Chicago Chapter went out with the national statement, “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!” People got out cards throughout the crowd directing them to go online 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.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/hundreds-protest-at-us-capitol-to-demand-clean-dream-act-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

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

February 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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.”

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

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/on-bob-avakians-talk-on-the-trump-pence-fascist-regime-wow-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

On BA’s Talk on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime:

“Wow!”

February 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader

[This talk] is a truly masterful concentration of both current conjunctural (fascism on the rise) and deeper historical roots analyses (how did we get to this point and why?), along with leadership being given to what to do about all this, all while never failing to reveal and confidently proceed back from the largest and most strategic objectives of the New Communism, while also providing a school of method and principle, plus an outlining of the basic pathway forward in practice for those with whom unity can be forged in the current conjuncture even if they don’t yet share (and might never share) those ultimate communist objectives. A model of solid core, with lots of elasticity based on the solid core. A model of unite all who can be united, on the right basis and with the right methods. A model of calm confidence and certitude based on science. A model of decency, of morality, of approachability, of humor and compassion, and yes of hope, all the while not falling into the slightest bit of tailing or ass-kissing and instead waging ferocious polemical struggle with the masses of different strata to work on those living contradictions and challenge and bust through the obstacles and the confining and paralyzing frameworks of this period. And all in an hour. Wow! And then with it the Q&As, with all its intangibles, substance, remarkable scientific ease and liveliness on full display "off the cuff"—Wow yet again!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/sorting-out-the-controversy-around-aziz-ansari-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Some Thoughts on Sorting Out the Controversy Around Aziz Ansari, Sexual Relations, and Getting Beyond Both Patriarchy and Revenge

by Sunsara Taylor

February 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Recent months have seen a righteous outpouring against the pervasive abuse, harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, humiliation, and degradation women are forced to endure in every realm of life. This is extremely positive and takes on heightened importance in light of—and, no doubt, is fueled by—the ugly shock of Trump, a bragging sexual predator, assuming the presidency and using the world’s largest bully pulpit and the power of the state to mainstream vile misogyny (woman-hating).

At the same time, when you have an upsurge like this a lot of different trends emerge and there is a need—sometimes an urgent need—to sort out goals and, relatedly, how to fight. It is in this context that the recent controversy that has erupted over comedian, actor, and writer Aziz Ansari is worth examining.

An Anonymous Exposé Against Aziz Ansari Hits a Deep Nerve, But Also Concentrates Real Problems

A few days after he appeared at the Golden Globes wearing a #Time’sUp button, an exposé accusing Aziz Ansari of pressuring a young woman into sex acts that she did not want took the Internet by storm. This exposé—and its reception—is extremely contradictory.

On one side, the kind of sexual relations described in the piece reflect a whole set of sexual and social relations that oppress, commodify, degrade, and dehumanize women, which dominate the whole society and culture, and which must be radically changed! The criticism of what has been part and parcel of the hook-up culture, and way too long just accepted, is long overdue and a very welcome, if still just beginning, part of the reckoning.

On the other side, however, the method of the article—filled with salacious, subjective, and selectively rendered detail—and the method with which it has been largely received, feeds a very dangerous culture of humiliation, revenge, and the promotion of rumors and accusations as the standard of guilt. At the same time, some of the people who have correctly and insightfully criticized this shortcoming have in some ways trivialized the harm of the sexual relations described and downplayed the depth of the change needed.

Sorting this out requires pulling back the lens and understanding much more deeply the real roots of the problem we face and what must be done about it. The point is not to try to navigate this on the terms on which it is currently being posed.

Instead, we need to collectively dig deeper, going to the roots of what underlies all this, and on this basis, imagine and think far beyond what already exists, to radically different relations, a far better world, and what it will take to get there—a point to which I’ll return.

We Need a Radical Revolt Against This Revolting Culture

There is a reason this exposé struck such a chord. From a very young age, women and girls are shamed about their bodies and sexual desires, taught that their value lies in being sexually “pure” as well as sexually attractive, and socialized to prioritize men’s egos and sexual desires above their own. Men and boys are also socialized in how to view women and sex through the dominant institutions and culture, including the widespread violent degradation of pornography which has gone almost entirely unmentioned in the entire #MeToo discussion. Men are trained to see women as less than human, to see sex as conquest, to take pride in overcoming a woman’s objections to sex, to strip sex of all intimacy, to even be turned on by the humiliation of women.

All this combines to create a culture where not only rape and sexual assault are epidemic, but—as portrayed in this anonymous account—even sex that is technically consensual takes place embedded in dynamics that all too often result in very degrading and dehumanizing experiences for women. All of this must be challenged and changed—and it can be.

Men need to stop reveling in the sexual degradation of women and women need to break with any attempt to “own” or “market” oneself as a sexual commodity. Sex should be based on equality and mutual respect, on appreciating the other person’s humanity, on a shared desire. We need to call out the culture of misogyny and rape, and the hook-up culture that strips sex of real intimacy, equality, and respect. AND, we need as part of this “reckoning” to also reckon with the degradation and objectification of women that is intrinsic to pornography—again, something which thus far has not received anywhere near the attention required.

Right now we need a radical and growing culture of revolt against today’s revolting culture.

Most of All: We Need a Radically Different—and Far Better—World

It is a very positive feature of the current upsurge that people are not only fighting against explicit violations of women’s consent, but also some are beginning to interrogate the content of sexual and intimate relations. However, all this is still far too constrained—too much attempting to find equality for women in the bedroom and the boardroom, in mainstream politics and on screen. Even the best of the discourse and discussions are far too hemmed in by the horizon of “what is,” and fighting for the best terms within that, for equality within existing social and economic relations. But humanity can do so much better.

What has become clear to me through a lifetime process of fighting and learning is that in seeking to uproot these inequalities there is a crying need to bring forward, and a real possibility of forging, radically different social relations as part of a radically different and far better world. Envisioning this, however, requires being radical—as in radix, going to the root of all this—and imagining beyond the horizons of “what is.” And this entails transcending the very limited goal of attempting to achieve equality within—while leaving fundamentally intact—the existing global framework of social and economic relations.

Fighting to eliminate and really uproot these inequalities requires scientifically probing:

What are the relations and culture which underlie and reinforce the toxic ways in which women are demeaned?

How is all this linked to the larger system, the underlying “mode of production” through which we as a society produce the necessities and wants of life, and which sets the context and terms for how we bring forth and rear the new generations?

What is the relation between the way capitalism turns everything into commodities to be exchanged for profit and the commodification of women’s bodies through things like the sexualized degradation of the massive porn industry, the global sex slave trade, and even most advertising?

Specifically, what is the relationship between the system of capitalism-imperialism and all these patriarchal institutions, relations, and culture?

What is the relationship between all of this and the most intimate interpersonal relations and sex?

Is it enough to “equalize” women’s position within this society and system, or is more required? Can humanity get beyond all this, and what will it take?

There are answers to these questions, but they require work—and grappling. They require science—that is, on the basis of evidence, digging into the underlying and driving dynamics that have shaped the origin and historical development of the oppression of women and that, on the basis of correctly grasping those real dynamics, indicate the possible pathways to change it. They require engaging with the work—and the method—of Bob Avakian and the New Communism, a whole new framework of human emancipation.

Avakian has built upon the profound advances of previous communist theory and revolutions, but also learned from their shortcomings, including criticisms raised about how these previous revolutions approached (or at times actually neglected or seriously underestimated) the necessary struggle to transform sexual and gender relations. Avakian’s New Communism scientifically comprehends insights and criticisms of feminists, and developments in other streams—in science, history, art and culture. This means that, for the first time, there is a thoroughly scientific understanding of how an actual revolution can be undertaken that fully unleashes the fight against all forms of oppression of women and does so in the context of putting an end to the long darkness of humanity divided into masters and slaves—which is the only way it can really succeed.

This work is tremendously illuminating—see for yourself!—and a great thing for humanity’s struggle and chances to prevail. I urge everyone to get into this, and if you are getting the importance of this moment and this movement, then there is no better place to start than by digging into the compilation, Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution.

Rumors and Guilt upon Accusation Work Against Liberation

Having gotten into what is very positive about this current upsurge and having pointed to some important ways this must go even further—by going even harder at the culture and institutions that give rise to this degradation and digging into the new work done by Bob Avakian on the emancipation of women and the communist revolution—it is necessary to examine some real problems that have emerged which lead away from liberation. Some of these problems are pronounced in the debate around Aziz Ansari.

First, the standard of “truth” that the Ansari exposé relies on and with which it has largely been met is extremely destructive, contributing to the growing culture of rumor, smear, and “guilt upon accusation” (and in this case, accusation of something that is not and should not be criminal). Truth is objective and must be determined by evidence, not rumor, accusations alone, subjective feelings, or the unfounded principle of “always believe the woman.” While most accusations from women are truthful, it is simply a fact that not all of them are, and the truth of any one claim has to be assessed against the evidence, subject to examination and challenge, and not merely attributed or derived from the overall veracity of the phenomenon as a whole. The long and brutal history of mere accusations against Black men by white women leading to terror, imprisonment, and outright lynchings serves as bitter lessons of the harm of allowing mere accusations to be treated as proof of guilt.

Tear Down Patriarchal Culture and Institutions, Not Individual Men

Ansari is not accused of anything criminal and yet his entire persona and career, including what by any reasonable inference based on available information appears to be genuine concern with the degradation faced by women, is being eclipsed by this accusation. Some say that Ansari hasn’t suffered through this, but this is disingenuous. If we recognize that the humiliation and social isolation of public shaming that is most often visited upon women constitutes actual harm, we cannot pretend this means nothing when visited upon men. To say this out loud these days is to be accused of normalizing sexual assault, i.e.: “Why so much concern for these men, what about all the women whose lives have been destroyed?” This is wrong; it is not a zero-sum game. We should not be choosing sides between women and men while accepting the world as it is, we should be fighting to radically change the world to get rid of injustice and oppression of all kinds.

Some justify this destruction by saying that men will never learn unless there are consequences. But this is premised on the very wrong assumption that you change social and sexual relations by frightening and punishing men. All this takes as a given the notion that men will want to degrade and objectify women and sees, therefore, the need to punish and frighten men out of acting on those impulses. However, these are not innate impulses and we must fight to end the culture and the institutions—and most fundamentally the system—that has given rise to all the degradation and misogynist revenge that is such a part of the world today.

A Challenge

It is very positive that so many are raising their heads and voicing their outrage against the widespread oppression and degradation of women that has been accepted for far too long. This fight must be taken up by even more people (including men!) and it must go even further and become even more determined. At the same time—and this will, in fact, strengthen this fight—people must strive to apply the right methods, not merely to tear down individuals, but to radically change the culture, as part of bringing about a whole different world.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/bob-avakian-talk-critical-answers-for-urgent-times-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Taking out Bob Avakian's Talk on Fascism

Critical Answers for Urgent Times... and a Doorway to a Better World

February 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“We are confronted by—we are now being ruled by—a fascist regime.” This basic point begins Bob Avakian’s October 2017 talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Since then, the regime has continued to move relentlessly ahead. Normalization solidifies with each passing day. Meanwhile, the “demented bully with his finger on the button” carries out war threats, provocations, and active planning for a “first strike against Korea,” as well as threats against Iran, and calls into question the very future of humanity. Within the U.S., the regime isolates and criminalizes immigrants, openly ranting white supremacist justifications as it picks off leaders and prepares for a major move in early March. Meanwhile, attacks on every other front—the environment, women, Black people, LGBTQ people, Muslims, and the very concept of truth itself—so much so that you cannot keep up—which itself is part of their strategy. What happens this next month may well be critical, one way or the other.

Up against this, there is anguish and revulsion, and there are actions on the different fronts—a few mass and many brave. But there is not yet a sustained movement that calls the Trump/Pence regime what it is—FASCIST—and mobilizes people accordingly, to DRIVE IT OUT.

Yet, if we do not know the nature of the enemy, we cannot defeat it. If we do not come to grips with the depth and root of the problem, we cannot solve it. Even as the struggle on every front must accelerate, there is right now an urgent need for thousands and then millions to much more clearly understand the nature of the extreme threat posed by the regime as a whole and to much more deeply grapple with HOW it can be defeated... driven out... before it is too late.

The single best tool for that is BA’s speech. This next month must be a time when thousands see this speech and the question/answer session that follows and get to grapple with this understanding.

Focusing for Concentrated Impact

This speech must reach those who are already active, as well as those who are agonizing and should be active. This means students, high school, college, grad students... this means immigrants’ organizations and immigrant communities... this means writers, artists, clergy, thought-leaders of all kinds. It means getting to the many groups that have come together to oppose this regime in myriad ways but are still restlessly searching for a better way forward and open to talking... and to all the communities under attack. This speech would make a major difference in how people see the situation, what they see as needed and possible, and the ways in which they move, including in the next crucial month. Reaching a “critical mass” of groups and people with the film, encouraging those who see it to spread it whether by hand or, more important, through social media, can then have a chain reaction out into the broader society. Those who are reading this site need to be the strategists of that.

Opening Doors to a Whole New World

So, this speech, getting out there, can reverberate. It can and must make a huge difference at what could be a tremendously crucial juncture. But there is a bigger reason as well—this talk can introduce people to Bob Avakian, BA, the most important revolutionary and thinker of our time. BA has qualitatively developed humanity’s ability to scientifically understand the world and, in particular, human society; he’s shown how humanity can emancipate itself, through revolution, from today’s insanity and all oppressive relations beyond. As the title of the talk says, “A Better World IS Possible”... and the proof of, and path to, that better world is in BA’s whole body of work and his overall leadership! So the powerful talk on the Trump/Pence regime can be a doorway to BA’s new communism, and there is nothing more important than increasing numbers of people walking through that door.

Speaking of opening doors... HOW we take this talk out to people makes a lot of difference. We should use the clips from the talk to promote and draw people into the talk as a whole. Proceeding from a shared revulsion at this regime, we’re launching with them a process of discovery. This means getting deeper into things and at times it’s gonna mean struggle. Both sides of that relationship mean taking people back to BA—whether the question is the Democrats and why they act as they do, or how to weigh the risks in going up against the regime, or whether at least in some way America really is a “force for good” in the world (or could be, if it weren’t for Trump). There are clips from the talk, up on line as clips, that can be marshaled—not in a chopped-up way as a “set of answers,” but as a unified whole that pulls the lenses back on everything, and opens up a different way to approach, and transform, reality.

This is a process—and it takes place in a context. People have thinking, they are doing things or seeking to do things. The recent article on taking the talk to students talked about “understanding the lay of the land.” This is right, but it can’t just—or mainly—mean the physical terrain of a campus! Right now, at any given time, there are people writing articles and giving talks, there are groups doing things, there are controversies happening... the most critical of which are addressed in this talk. What are the big political, ideological, epistemological, and cultural debates on campus? Where are these getting struggled out? What do students think of the Trump/Pence regime and where it’s come from? How do they see their responsibility to fight this and in what ways? What about the struggles over epistemology—the methods that people use to understand the world and sort out right from wrong?

More broadly, in society overall, huge questions are being debated, including, to name just a few: the role of women, what it will take to root out misogyny, and how Trump and Pence relate to that; the historical and present-day situation of Black people in America, what the elections of first Obama and then Trump mean in that context; the viability of liberal democracy itself; the root causes of the fascist wave now crashing across Europe and the U.S.; etc.

This is a process—and it takes place in waves. We have to have a strategic view of following up a real intense effort with the talk—say on a campus during student week, or in a particular community, or among a group—with regularly going back and continuing and developing the relationship. We are inviting people, as BA’s Invitation puts it, on a crucial journey—and journeys happen over time. What can we learn from people, even where we may differ or where they may be outright wrong on one or another important question? Where do we have to struggle with people, and how?

We should be going far and wide with this. On a campus—this means going to students and faculty already in motion, and it also means sitting down with students at a cafeteria table or knocking on faculty doors of people we don’t know. In a community—going to ties we have, and also going into the barbershops and beauty parlors and other places people gather. Everywhere, playing clips for people and letting them respond directly to what they hear... and then getting them to watch the whole thing, where—again—the lens is pulled back on the whole thing... having ways that people can spread this, even simple ways... and through all this, getting into deep discussions, learning, and forging real relationships.

Get Organized

Finally, the degree to which this talk gets out will make a serious and potentially decisive difference in how people see things. This means we must be organized commensurate with that—developing teams with real responsibility for setting goals, meeting and then surpassing them.

Teams which can go out and show the film everywhere, get it into people’s hands [click here for instructions to download and duplicate the film] and from there, their social networks, and draw people into the work of doing this and the collectivity of the team itself. Teams that keep tabs on and foster the new relationships we develop (based on the process described in the Invitation). Teams that learn all they can each step of the way and share lessons with others.

People need this talk. People need to be introduced to BA. It is on us—and this month is a time, indeed perhaps what will turn out to be a crucial time, to make a big advance in that whole process, setting a different dynamic in motion.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/make-a-splash-with-social-media-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Make a splash on social media with

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America
A Better World IS Possible

February 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There are LOTS of ways you can be part of having an exponential impact via social media to put this needed talk before people throughout society. Be part of challenging and changing people’s thinking through the direct engagement with this important talk. And integrate social media into all of our plans.

Volunteer to be part of this and share your ideas... big and small. Write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com

This is going to be a big part of what we’re doing throughout the month and beyond.

» follow @tuneintorevcom on twitter, FB and IG

» upload clips onto your social media accounts (downloadable at https://vimeo.com/channels/batalktrumppencemustgo) and tag @tuneintorevcom

» post links with your own personal commentary and tag @tuneintorevcom

» ask 25 followers and friends to do the same. Think about people who have a larger following, contact them directly, think about whether a particular clip might resonate. For some people, it makes a difference to provide sample posts. You can draw from any that will be up @tuneintorevcom

» Engage in the ongoing discussion on social media...

» When you’re out this weekend in neighborhoods, busy transit hubs, busy downtown areas etc., carry a sign that tells people to follow us @tuneintorevcom. In everything we’re doing, help build the following of these accounts. Any time you’re watching the film with others: out on the street, hanging in the dorms etc. take a picture, record a comment from someone and post on social media (tag us @tuneintorevcom).

All the engagement that goes on should be maximized, learned from and spread via social media.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/529/showing-ba-film-at-an-immigrant-community-in-nyc-en.html

Revolution #529 February 5, 2018

Showing The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go... to Immigrants in NYC

February 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

A showing of the BA film was held at a small business in a largely immigrant community. This was the second showing at this business in recent weeks. It followed Trump having called Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa “shithole countries,” and after hundreds of Haitians and others marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and rallied on Wall Street to defiantly reject the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on immigrants. People’s bitterness at these comments and attacks ran through the discussion following watching the film.

The discussion was very lively. One person said this film told the truth and people really needed to see it. He said people need to be educated about what was really going on, that this had to happen before they could be mobilized to do anything about it all, and this film could be part of giving them that necessary education. (This person took a lot of notes while watching the film, and he bought Bob Avakian’s book The New Communism, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and the Revolutionary Communist Party Central Committee statement, “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” before the showing.) Another person said it was necessary to mobilize a lot of people to take to the streets to stop the regime before it could cause more horrors for the people, but he felt it had been premature to set a specific date for people to start the demonstrations. Instead we should do it like Occupy (Occupy Wall Street) had done it—occupy somewhere, be in the street ongoing and build it up till you could reach the necessary stage.

Everyone was struck by the enormity of what we were up against, in the different ways they understood that. They saw the attacks on immigrants today as a dramatic escalation on an already horrible situation. People felt that Haitian immigrants and Haitian people in general were special targets of this assault by the regime. One person who was watching the film for the second time said, “We’re being targeted because of how Haiti represents the essence of Africanity.” I had never heard this term before, and asked him to explain what it meant. He said Haiti was the first place where Africans had successfully revolted and ended slavery, and they (the colonialists and imperialists) felt Haiti had to be punished for having done that. Several people also spoke to the way ICE was going after Latino immigrants. They described how places where Latinos used to gather in neighborhoods they were familiar with were now deserted. One woman asked, “What can they do? They might get picked up if they go to work, to school or anywhere.” (They said this about Latino immigrants, but not Haitian immigrants, which may mean, that at least in the NYC area, ICE isn’t yet carrying out massive sweeps aimed at Haitians.)

These people had no love for Obama. One of them recalled that he was called the “deporter in chief” who targeted immigrants for massive deportations while talking about inclusion. They also cited the way police terrorized Black communities during his presidency. But they viewed this regime as something different, as something worse than Obama. One woman said, “Who’s protecting them [immigrants]? Where’s the American Dream?” And, “There’s no home for us anymore. They mistreat us here, and they’ve terrorized our countries.” She also said this was tied to how they dealt with Black citizens—stop-and-frisk—people getting arrested for not having their IDs on them. Another person said Trump represented “them” using a new strategy to keep the power. Overall the idea of driving the regime from power struck a chord with people.

A man who was quiet for most of the discussion broke in to say, “They [white people] think immigrants are taking something away from the U.S.” and that “Trump is trying to bring back slave-like conditions in the U.S., and this is forcing people into hiding.”

There was some back and forth over what was the aim of these escalating attacks on immigrants. One person said, “They can’t deport everybody because they need them to do the work that no one else will do.” Another said they want to create a Bayakou status among immigrant workers. (Bayakou are people in Haiti who clean the toilets.) She said, “They want to force people into position of being shit on in this country, while the U.S. shits on their countries.”

Everybody also saw the enormity of trying to drive the regime from power. They wanted to hear what our plan for doing that was, and one guy opened the discussion by commenting on the Call for November 4 that BA had spoken to and promoted in the film.

One person asked what would come after Trump. Here he meant that we could be stuck with Pence who could be even worse. People went back to speaking about the difficulty of mobilizing people to do something as big as trying to drive Trump and his people from office. And to the need to educate people to what’s going on before they could be moved to do something like that.

They also felt the film and getting it shown to many more people could be part of that kind of education. We had opened the discussion after the film by talking about the month-long campaign to spread this film and get many more people to see it, and we went back to that. People began talking about what groups of people they could get together to see the film. The person who ran the business where we had just watched the film offered his place for other showings. We had copies of the DVD of the talk there, and a woman who had missed the beginning of the film got one so she could watch it all when she got home.

This showing happened off of having had an earlier small showing of the film at this business. The positive response to the film points to the potential among these immigrants to bring the film to many more people. This would be a strategically important section to get to engage this film and to get to know who BA is and what he’s all about. Off of thinking about this showing, we are working to set in motion organizing a larger showing in this neighborhood, building it through getting the word out and getting clips played on Haitian radio stations, and involving those who were at these showings in making this happen.

We were ending the discussion when a woman asked, “How do we use Trump and all the crazy stuff he does to make revolution?” She felt that Trump should be a wake-up call for us all. Another person said they’re “doing away with bourgeois democracy and breaking through the norms.” He felt this was bigger than Trump and that the system was trying to come back with slavery. These are things that we need to go deeper into with these people.