Revolution #534, March 12, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/531/campaign-to-spread-bob-avakians-filmed-talk-on-the-trump-pence-fascist-regime-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Campaign to Spread Bob Avakian's Filmed Talk on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime...

Do You Want to Really Understand What We Face With This Trump/Pence Regime? And Do You Want to Share That With Others? Here's How to Do Both

Updated February 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Stay tuned to revcom this week for reports on responses to Bob Avakian’s filmed speech, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. And take the film out to everywhere people are standing up against the attacks on the DACA youth and all immigrants!

 

How serious a threat does the Trump/Pence regime pose to humanity? Could fascism really happen here?

What is the character of the regime—is it fascist, and if it is, what are the implications?

What are the roots of this regime? Is it a terrible aberration, “more of the same”... or something different still?

What must be done to stop it? How?

Is a better world possible?

These questions, whether spoken or implicit, lie at the bottom of nearly every political debate and discussion today. Bob Avakian, in his filmed talk on the Trump/Pence regime, addresses those questions from the loftiest possible level with a penetrating scientific approach, and with a depth of compassion and breadth of humanity that is unique.

If even some of the millions now agonizing over these questions could be exposed to this talk, if even thousands could grapple with it deeply, it would make a huge difference in how people understand what they face in this regime, and in the kinds of possibilities that they could become alive to. It could begin to change the whole equation.

The problem is that far too few people have even heard of this film—THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible―let alone have watched it. So right now, today, revcom is calling on you to watch the talk if you haven’t already seen it, to return to it if you have, and to be part of spreading this around everywhere.

Spreading This Talk

You can spread this by working with people from the Revolution Clubs, or from Refuse Fascism, or The Bob Avakian Institute—all of which are organizing to get this projected way out there. Or you can do this yourself. However you decide, check out this site because we’re going to be highlighting experiences and insights from people as this develops.

One big thing: social media. This will be the main way that this talk ends up reaching far and wide—so whatever connections, participation, and ideas people have on this would be important. People should post this, tweet it, Instagram it, etc.

When you take this film out, a lot of people are gonna really resonate with a lot of it, and some are gonna have disagreements. Everybody’s probably gonna have questions and things they don’t understand—as well as insights and ideas to learn from. You don’t have to be able to answer every question that comes up—in fact, the very best thing to do with this talk from BA is to let it do the work.

That goes for those who are totally new to things, as well as those who have been part of the movement for a long time. Take people back to what’s in the talk; be familiar with the Questions and Answers, and take people to those when they come up (and even when they don’t come up, be sure to let people know about this part of the talk). Even if you’ve only seen the talk once, you can begin to do this—you can get going on this, and the more you watch it with people, the more you’re gonna be getting depths and insight that you can’t get on just one viewing. This is a process of discovery that you’re sharing with people. Go here to read about the response of one woman to this talk and you can get the idea.

Some people will just want to digest it and think it over. They may or may not spread it through social media or talk to friends about it... but whatever they do or don’t do immediately, it’ll be circulating in their minds as things continue to develop. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Others are going to want to get active in Refuse Fascism—make sure that they have a way to do that. Try to find a way to stay in touch, even with those who are “too busy” right now to get active.

Still others, including a lot of those still “digesting” as well as those wanting to get active right now, are going to want to know—and should know—about what else BA has done. There should be copies available—and up on walls, where possible and appropriate—of BA’s other writings on the regime.

And everyone should know that BA is the most radical revolutionary in the world, the architect of a new communism, and they should be able to learn about and pursue his works on that. You can take them to revcom.us or TheBobAvakianInstitute.org, or you can have with you other key things that go further into the same topic and that get into the revolution he mentions, but does not go deeply into, in the talk. Even if you yourself are just learning about BA for the first time and sorting out your thinking, you can take others to these websites and let them know how they too can pursue this.

Right now a major crisis looms around the DACA program and immigration more generally. People are agonizing over the mass shootings and outraged over the regime’s insistence on shoring up the fascist NRA. People are interrogating and fighting to transform a culture of misogyny with a molester-in-chief at the head and a Christian fascist movement packing the courts and the government as a whole. The threat of war simmers ominously in the background, ready to erupt to the front at any time. Meanwhile, there are indictments, investigations, and infighting at the top—but what will come of them?

In this fraught situation, this talk must get heard.

This coming week will see a particular push on key college campuses. In the face of everything we just mentioned, including ferment on these campuses themselves over these issues and more, this is a part of society that MUST get exposed to this analysis and to this leader. What the students do or do not do, including in this next period, could be decisive to what happens with this regime... with all the stakes that involves.

Help that to happen. And stay in touch.

 

At the Revolution Club Organizing Center: Watching the BA Film...and Getting Involved in Spreading It

From the Revolution Club, Chicago

Out and about, a postering team ran into a woman who was interested in the new 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. She came down the block right into the Revolution Club Organizing Center and we learned, when introducing Revolution newspaper, that she remembered getting it in the past but now relied heavily on coverage and analysis of what’s going on by watching The Young Turks. Then we got right into watching the full talk. At the end she clapped along with the clapping heard on the audio, smiling. When asked what she thought about it, she said BA gave such a detailed explanation of fascism. She liked that he used the facts to build the argument that this is fascism and how we ended up here. She said most people don’t know this is what it is. And she liked that BA also got into how we can do something about it. She also spoke about how she knew about slavery but not like that.

We told her about the campaign to really get thousands to see the film and asked if she could contribute to making that happen herself. We talked about ways she could spread the film, including on social media, which she said was one way she keeps up on what’s going on and one way she could spread the film by posting the video, and she mentioned a spot right down the street that looked like a regular fast food joint and spoke of some professionals who eat lunch and hang out there sometimes; all as she gathered materials to spread the film herself, a copy of Revolution newspaper to learn more, and a calendar flyer about upcoming events, including more film showings at the center. When she left we made sure to have a way to stay in touch and that we would call soon to touch base and follow up. [back]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #534 March 12, 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/534/going-forward-lessons-learned-from-spreading-talk-by-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Going Forward, Lessons Learned from Spreading 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

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As the fascist regime continues to move with ferocity, there is a great need, and real potential, for mass impact with the talk from Bob Avakian (BA), THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible.

There are millions agonizing about what the Trump/Pence regime is doing... they are inspired when people speak the truth about this regime, stand up and protest... they are horrified at the actions of the fascist stormtroopers that have been unleashed by the regime... but the vast majority of them, on their own, are not putting the pieces together about what we’re facing, are not looking beyond the day-to-day “chaos” and are gravitating toward partial or wrong ways to resolve this.

This talk from BA, and the Q&As that follow, deal with these urgent questions: Can fascism really happen here? What are the roots of this regime? What must be done to stop it? Is a better world possible?

If even some of the millions now agonizing over these questions could be exposed to this talk, if even thousands could grapple with it deeply, it would make a huge difference in how people understand what they face in this regime, and in the kinds of possibilities that they could become alive to. It could begin to change the whole equation.

This talk is an introduction and entry point into BA and his work as a whole... an entry point to the game-changer that is the new communism, and the architect of the framework in Bob Avakian, the most radical revolutionary on the planet.

We are continuing to report today with vignettes from New York and Los Angeles of responses from people watching clips and excerpts of the film and Q&A—collectively and individually. Some lessons learned in the course of doing this the past weeks:

* Struggle for deeper engagement―An Invitation: Even while not enough, lots of people have watched clips and excerpts, and their reactions and responses have been very rich, being introduced to a whole other way to approach the world and what this regime represents. At the same time, it is necessary to struggle for a deeper engagement—online and in person—for people to follow through on their initial interest and provocation, to watch the full film, and the Q&As, to “go there” and be challenged, to follow through on their convictions.

There is a comprehensive argument made for what this regime represents and what is to be done, taking on obstacles in people’s thinking and wrong modes of thought. If possible, watch with them, and watch collectively—for this helps provoke a different level of engagement and action—see “Digging in, Deep and Wide, in an Immigrant Community”—with a sense of mission, and not feeling alone in their thinking, but more of a sense of beginning collectivities with possibilities. It is remarkable how many people have said they feel “alone” in their thinking about the dangers of this regime, a product not only of this society in general, but the normalization of fascism that is prevalent. In key “ecosystems,” like campuses, this dynamic is especially critical to forging critical masses of students, of faculty and others around what is needed—that could be catalytic in setting off a geometric progression of people engaging this film.

One of the strengths that we can build on: There are people who are not students, who are partisan to BA and this revolution, who have also resonated with this talk. This includes people with a lot of experience catching hell under this system, experience that students might not be familiar with and should learn about. Students can learn a lot from their stories, and it can have a special impact and effect if they share their thinking on the importance of BA and this film with students. We should talk with them about being part of outings on campus, why it matters, and the role they could play—and organize such outings, collective showings, “crossing the tracks” for both sections of people.

* Things for People to Do, Getting Organized!: People watching the film have often been provoked to learn more about BA and his work, getting copies of THE NEW COMMUNISM and other books and films, some learning about The Bob Avakian Institute in this process. This should be further encouraged, to continue and multiply, with the timeline and memoir available to people to learn more about BA, the person, and his works including the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and BAsics, the handbook of the revolution. The interview with Ardea Skybreak, Science and Revolution, provides a great invitation into BA and what he’s all about. Many are being provoked at this time to check out Revolution Clubs and Revolution Books. All of this is part of getting organized for an actual revolution.

Given an overall climate among progressives that is often anti-science and sometimes unprincipled, it is also helpful to get people “BA: A Contended Question” so they can correctly and scientifically assess and process what they often run into: “pushback” from supposedly progressive people who nevertheless feel their worldview challenged and even threatened by what BA represents.

At the same time, there is real urgency to act now; to oust this fascist regime—with the mass political action of millions. History is full of such examples—where has anything ever fundamentally changed for the better without the actions of masses of people, in the streets? And there is an organization and vehicle for this in Refuse Fascism, which exists for this singular goal—and to which people must be invited and organized. The talk by BA is a major political intervention towards people grasping the necessity to act commensurate with the need, to organize to drive out this regime at the soonest possible time. This is the main dimension of what is needed right now.

A point of crucial orientation: We have to make—and continue to make—a case for the NECESSITY to oust this regime. When people understand this and become convinced, all sorts of things become possible with people doing all kinds of things, taking initiative, with creativity and defiance... grasping the necessity to oust this regime is the key link in ideological struggle in this realm.

This film makes this case—and people getting involved in spreading the film is a crucial need and contribution.

* Opening discussions on frameworks, epistemology and science, over modes of thought: What has been striking is how people are provoked by watching the film—and its excerpts—to think further about the history of this country, and the nature of this system.

These can and do open up real opportunities to go further with people on questions of epistemology—that is, people’s way of understanding the world, the framework or prism through which they view and evaluate reality. This helps in both struggling with them to confront the depth of the situation, and in examining and transforming what we are facing in the broader society—on wrong modes of thought, wrong methods and approaches to the world. There is a lot of anti-science dominant in society, in the form of religious thought, of relativism—either as denial of objective reality or privileging personal experience in identity and intersectional politics as the only valid epistemology, populist epistemology—that what people in their majority believe constitutes truth, or sheer empiricism, looking at the surface level of observable phenomena, not going to underlying drivers. Without science, and leadership based on the science, there is no getting free. This is a simple fact, yet hidden from billions—and it is our responsibility to bring this to people. BAsics 4:10 and 4:11 are great entry points for such discussion. There is a lot of American chauvinism, often in unexamined forms, and with unquestioned assumptions—and clips like the one on the GTF (the “Great Tautological Fallacy”) have people spinning their heads—questioning assumptions taken for granted and pumped out in society to great harm.

There is a lot modeled in BA on taking on such frameworks and modes of thought, and there is a lot to learn from his method. Ardea Skybreak models some of this struggle in her interview as well.

***

The last weeks have been wild and dangerous.

Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, gave a bloodthirsty speech, attacking California and suing the state for its “sanctuary” provisions on undocumented immigrants. The regime’s program of ethnic cleansing continues apace. The situation with North Korea is in flux, even as there continues to be great danger for the people of the world.

There has also been an escalation in repression—against the people broadly, against immigrants, and against Revolution Clubs, Revolution Books, and RefuseFascism.org―and resistance in its wake.

All this has called forward the outrage and support of many, even while it needs to grow, and be linked to the struggle to drive out the regime the only way this can happen: through mass, sustained, determined, nonviolent protest in the streets, acting first in thousands, hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions until our single demand is met: This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

All those inspired by the Refuse Fascism protesters in DC and UCLA, and furious at how they’ve been treated... all those stepping forward to support Revolution Books in Berkeley... all those inspired to be active in the struggle against this fascist regime in ways big and small... we invite them to find out about, and seriously engage, the analysis and understanding in this film. Let’s go!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/533/orientation-on-trump-announcement-of-talks-with-north-korea.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Some Points of Orientation on Trump’s Announcement of Talks with North Korea

March 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

1. What kind of world are we living in?

It is a fundamental outrage that we live in a world where the survival of humanity rests in the hands of someone like Donald Trump; that the people of the Korean peninsula, and humanity, are held hostage to his acts and speech.

Let’s not forget that he has threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea “like the world has never seen before,” then doubled down at the UN with threats to “totally destroy” North Korea. We are being told this is what forced North Korea and Kim Jong-un to the table. We are being told this is Trump-style diplomacy, the “madman” theory, which Trump himself joked about recently.

Ask yourself: what kind of world is this?

2. Who is the real aggressor?

Let’s be clear: the U.S. has been—for 70 years—and remains the real aggressor here, starting with the Korean War of 1950-53, and ever afterward. And it must not be forgotten that during the Korean War, the U.S. carpet-bombed and eventually burned down every town in North Korea, and that an estimated three million Korean civilians, the great majority in the North, were killed in this war.

Even mainstream commentators have identified the existential and long-standing U.S. threats against the North Korean regime as one of the main reasons that they have pursued this nuclear deterrent in the first place, as a protective measure. (See here for more background on the U.S.-North Korea conflict.)

3. What is at stake in the negotiations—U.S. interests or those of humanity?

The U.S. will be pursuing its imperialist interests through negotiation, as it would through war, and these interests are fundamentally and through and through unjust and have nothing in common with those of the masses, worldwide and within the U.S.

These interests have to do with larger geopolitical considerations, great power rivalry, and fundamentally, the U.S. quest for continued dominance in a changing world. These are the interests that have resulted in and provoked the U.S.’s current aggressive stance, and remain its abiding and driving interests, not the situation and real interests of the people of the Korean Peninsula or humanity.

4. What is the context of the talks?

The proposed talks are fraught with grave dangers. Plans to negotiate take place in the context of an increasingly bellicose stance, direction, and policy posture overall by the U.S., one which is deeply linked to the fascist character of the regime. And this context includes the ramping up of military spending by this fascist regime—and its announced intention to expand, modernize, and make more useable the U.S’s planet-destroying arsenal of 4,000 nuclear weapons

Think about this before celebrating the negotiations: writing in the New York Times March 9, Victor Cha—a candidate for the post of ambassador to South Korea whose nomination was withdrawn because of differences and reservations with this regime over its consideration of a preemptive strike against North Korea, the “bloody nose” option—states:

Finally, everyone should be aware that this dramatic act of diplomacy by these two unusual leaders, who love flair and drama, may also take us closer to war. Failed negotiations at the summit level leave all parties with no other recourse for diplomacy. In which case, as Mr. Trump has said, we really will have “run out of road” on North Korea.

In fact, the dangers of war further heighten Trump’s need to walk the “last mile of peace.” This is a fast-moving situation. The talks may not even happen. Former UN ambassador John Bolton, whom Trump is reaching to as an advisor, has advocated using the talks to issue an ultimatum to North Korea: accept U.S. terms or else.

All of this makes the proposed negotiations fraught and dangerous, not the “magic and easy solution” to the dangers of what would, by all accounts, be a catastrophic war.

5. What has not changed, and what IS needed

The interests of the people here—and around the world—not only lie in NO WAR and NO THREATS OF WAR, but in ousting Trump/Pence regime altogether. Whatever happens with these negotiations, and whatever legitimacy Trump may get and seek to claim from this stance and act, it does not change the fundamental nature of this regime as fascist, with all the horrors it portends for humanity.

The only solution is mass political action, ultimately of millions, aimed at driving this regime from power before it can consolidate its power and/or unleash unprecedented horrors on the people of the world. As part of this, there is an urgent need for people to take to the streets to denounce the Trump regime's ongoing threats against North Korea, and to oppose any military action by the U.S.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/coast-to-coast-escalation-of-repression-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Coast-to-Coast Escalation of Repression Targets Revolution Clubs, Refuse Fascism, Revolution Books... Revolutionaries, Activists Stand Firm, Call Forward Broad Support

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At UCLA, political protests are being targeted and Revolution Club members and Refuse Fascism activists have repeatedly been arrested. At the University of Chicago, a Revolution Club member was brutally arrested for participating in a silent protest supporting immigrants. In Washington, DC, two Refuse Fascism activists were arrested by the Secret Service for reading a proclamation, then a family member was visited by Homeland Security. Fascist thugs—the Trump/Pence regime’s unofficial storm troopers—threatened to burn down Revolution Books in Berkeley, and a fire was set outside a radical/progressive bookstore in San Diego. Meanwhile, online Nazi trolls attacked and temporarily shut down the refusefascism.org website.

These are some of the signs of a dramatic, at least in some respect coordinated, escalation of state repression targeting opponents of the Trump/Pence regime over the past several weeks, in particular Revolution Clubs and RefuseFascism.

Just as significantly—perhaps even more so in the potential it revealed—in each of these instances, those targeted for attack refused to buckle under or back down. They stood strong and doubled down: widely publicizing the fascist attacks and exposing what they show about the whole Trump/Pence regime, and calling forward broader support—including in some instances media and social media coverage reaching millions.

A Chronology of Nationwide Political Assaults

February 12, UCLA. The Revolution Club, LA went to UCLA where the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, was invited as a “thought leader” to present about what he has done to supposedly help the people of Chicago. When club members verbally exposed his lies and assaults on the people, campus pigs grabbed one member and wrenched on his shoulder to stop him from chanting “Trump and Pence must go” and calling on people to go to revcom.us and to find out about Bob Avakian. They slammed him to the ground, and later charged him with two misdemeanors. Two other members of the Revolution Club were taken into custody for filming the police as they brutalized him, and were released without charges.

February 12 Aftermath, UCLA. Previously, people who spoke up to protest or disrupt events were escorted out of the event, but generally not criminally charged or disciplined. But several days after the Rahm Emanuel protest, the UCLA administration sent an email to students warning them that the right to protest does not include speaking out of turn to the point that the speaker is not able to speak to a willing audience, and if someone does that they’re subject to arrest. They also pointedly warned foreign (international) students that given the changes in immigration law, they could lose their visas if they are arrested—even if they are not charged or convicted of a crime. Now, at the start of events where protests are expected, a university official verbally warns the audience that “If you protest, if you disrupt, you will be warned and you will be subject to arrest.”

February 26, UCLA. Two Revolution Club members and a Refuse Fascism activist were dragged out of Treasury Secretary Steve “The Mouse” Mnuchin’s talk, which many in the audience were vocally protesting, because they dared to stand up and call out his lies and crimes. As the event was letting out, two other members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club were arrested for speaking out against this regime and these outrageous arrests.

Rather than intimidating the revolutionaries and activists, it spurred them to step up their exposure and opposition to these powerful, yet also pitiful, fascists. Mnuchin begged UCLA to suppress its video of the event, but cell phone videos of the Revolution Club being assaulted by police went viral—including because of the efforts of Refuse Fascism and others—they’ve been seen over 1.5 million times—and the protest and Mnuchin’s efforts to censor the video were widely covered in the press including the New York Times, Washington Post and many other sites. Meanwhile, the Revolution Club members who were targeted issued a debate challenge to “The Mouse,” which was spread by refusefascism.org, Revolution/revcom.us, and others.

March 1, University of Chicago. University of Chicago police brutally attacked and arrested Maya, a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago, as she left campus after participating in a SILENT protest in support of undocumented immigrants in the student center, where almost the entire dining hall fell silent for 11 minutes in support of 11 million undocumented immigrants. On top of this outrageous attack, they are now charging HER with felony battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. She was then further targeted by the state at what should have been a routine bail hearing when the assistant state’s attorney presented a lengthy, distorted, and utterly irrelevant political dossier on Maya, implying that she should not be released—on the basis of her alleged political views and associations.

The Revolution Club and others in Chicago spread word of these outrages and built support for Maya, and her March 8 court hearing was packed with 25 supporters. At the hearing, the prosecution outrageously decided to forego this preliminary hearing with the judge and take the case to a grand jury, to avoid having his one witness—a pig—crossexamined by Maya’s attorney. Her next court date is March 26.

In short, the repressive power of the state—in close cooperation with the university—was brought to bear and bring serious charges against someone peacefully protesting the ongoing raids against and attacks on immigrants.

March 3, Revolution Books, Berkeley. On the one-year anniversary of the pro-Trump fascist rally and violence in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, several Trumpite thugs calling themselves “Berkeley Warriors” came from Sacramento, tried to barge into Revolution Books, verbally assaulted staff members, and made the specific threat: “We’re going to burn down your bookstore.” This was the 10th time Revolution Books has been targeted by “alt-right” fascists, but the first time a real threat was issued. One store staffer said, “We take this seriously. We hope you do too. This shouldn’t be tolerated. What kind of a world are we living in? What are we going to tolerate?”

Revolution Books has repeatedly stood firm and made clear it will not be intimidated or shut down, but will carry out its core mission with more determination. (When one MAGA-moron asked a store staffer, “Why am I a white supremacist?” the staffer responded, “I don’t know, why are you a white supremacist?”) The bookstore energetically publicized video of this outrageous threat and it has been shared and spread very widely—including by The Young Turks, Publisher’s Weekly, and Britain’s Independent. A NowThis Politics Facebook video has so far been viewed over 2.4 million times, and many powerful support statements have been posted on Revolution Book’s Twitter feed. Revolution Books has called for people to come support the store and held a well-covered press conference. And it has seized the moment to contrast the racist, misogynist, know-nothing/have nothing but horrors to offer humanity of the fascists, with the knowledge, vibrant engagement, and pathway to a liberating future found at Revolution Books.

March 4, Groundwork Books, San Diego. Someone broke the glass window on the door of Groundwork Books Collective, a progressive bookstore, forced their way in, and knocked over books and shelves. They tried to set fire to the inside of the space, but failing that, set a bookcase outside the store on fire. The Groundwork Books Collective, which suffered some $500 worth of damage, issued a statement saying the attack “comes in the wake of a series of right-wing and white supremacist activities: banner drops by these organizations, attempted intimidation in critical gender studies and ethnic studies classes, constant flyering not only at UCSD but also at [San Diego State University], and threats of violence made against Revolution Books at UC Berkeley.”

March 5, Washington, DC. The Secret Service arrested and then held two young Refuse Fascism activists 24 hours for merely reading—on public property in front of the Treasury Department—a challenge to Mnuchin to debate. As this was happening, Department of Homeland Security agents—whose mission ostensibly centers around “terrorism”—visited the parents of one of the arrested activists on the opposite side of the country, near Seattle. The DHS agents pointedly asked them questions about their daughter’s political views and involvement with Refuse Fascism. (This activist is not a minor, she is more than 30 years old; there is no legitimate reason for any authorities to be contacting her parents, much less visiting their home.)

Amidst all the talk in the liberal media about the “chaos” in the Trump White House, there was no chaos in this coordinated, nationwide assault on Refuse Fascism activists and the organization itself.

March 5, UCLA. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Tala Deloria, the UCLA student who can be seen in the February 26 video being carried out of Steve Mnuchin’s event, was arrested yet again at UCLA while standing in the lobby of a public event on the UCLA campus. The police claim she was violating an illegitimate seven-day ban from campus which they had conveyed verbally during her first arrest. Deloria can be seen in this video issuing a challenge to Steve “the Mouse” Mnuchin to debate her and the others who were arrested during his February 26 UCLA speech. This video went up on March 5—six hours before Deloria was rearrested.

In short, a verbal challenge to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to debate has been turned into a crime to be targeted for political suppression, arrest, and political snooping by Secret Service, police, and the Department of Homeland Security.

March 8, refusefascism.org website attacked. “Early morning of March 8, a hacking attack caused the website of Refuse Fascism, refusefascism.org, to crash,” the organization reported. “For several hours, people were blocked from learning about, donating to, joining, and spreading the message: This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.” While the source of the attack is still being investigated, pro-Trump forces have claimed credit online. As refusefascism.org points out, their message is “something that the retrograde MAGA crowd should politically fear”—precisely because it has the potential “to transform the deep-seated hatred millions feel for this regime into a political force that can drive it from power.”

Standing Strong, Rallying Others Against the Regime’s Assault on Basic Rights

These attacks mark serious escalations against basic rights of the people to politically protest. Attacks on basic political rights are a core element of fascism and such basic rights must not be surrendered. Surrendering and allowing these kinds of illegitimate arrests and assaults paves the way for the consolidation of the open, society-wide terror of fascist rule.

So these attacks must be met head on and defeated. Key in doing so is by reaching out very broadly for support while at the same time refusing to be backed down, and exuding the righteous spirit of contempt for the monsters now running the U.S. and threatening the whole world, a spirit modeled in the challenge to the pitiful Steve Mnuchin to debate.

All this must be done in the context of further spreading the message that these courageous activists and revolutionaries were conveying—exposing the cruel and fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime and all its minions, spreading 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, far and wide, and stepping up efforts to organize millions to drive this fascist regime from power through nonviolent, mass political protest and resistance.

This isn’t hype. What took place at UCLA, the University of Chicago, in Washington, DC, in Berkeley and elsewhere are examples of how the courageous actions of a few—actions reflecting the real interests of the people and reaching out to mobilize them to fight—can break through the silence of normalization, present a challenge to those who feel the danger but are afraid to face the reality of the situation, and be a model for millions for how they should be acting. They can highlight and reveal the strategic weaknesses and vulnerabilities of these fascists—including that there are millions who hate them and can be inspired, and mobilizing determined resistance. And taking on these fascist assaults and attempts at political repression can be a key way resistance to the whole regime can and must be built.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/trump-sessions-escalate-attacks-on-sanctuary-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Trump, Sessions Escalate Attacks on Sanctuary for Immigrants—This Is Intolerable! This Must Be Stopped

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Major immigration raids swept across Northern California recently. Hundreds of people were arrested and deported. As this nightmare was underway, Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, went on the airwaves and alerted people of an impending Gestapo (oops, make that ICE) assault upon that city.

Donald Trump, his attorney general Jeff Sessions, and other officials in the fascist regime he heads then threatened Schaaf and accused her of aiding criminals and endangering ICE agents. Trump said Schaaf is a “disgrace,” and continued, “It’s certainly something we are looking at with respect to her individually. What she did is incredible and very dangerous from the standpoint of ICE and Border Patrol. Very dangerous. She really made law enforcement much more dangerous than it had to be. So we are looking at that situation very carefully.” Trump’s spokesperson said it is “outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that. And that’s currently under review by the Department of Justice, and I don’t have anything else to add.” Attorney General Sessions called out Schaaf in a Sacramento speech, saying, “How dare you? How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officials to promote a radical open-borders agenda?”

A Good Thing to Sound the Alarm

Warning people of ICE raids is a good thing. Acts like Schaaf’s must be upheld, and the outrageous attacks on her must stop. These Gestapo (ICE) raids tear apart the lives of hundreds of people and destroy their families. They spread terror throughout entire communities of hundreds of thousands. They are part of laying the groundwork for even more massive projects of ethnic cleansing.

The completely outrageous attacks on Schaaf by officials of the fascist government must be opposed, and defeated. If the fascists get away with their threats, either by silencing her or by actually prosecuting her, they will have taken a major step on the road to fascism. One, this would turbocharge the entire ethnic cleansing campaign against immigrants. Two, it would signal that threats of prison and prison itself will be used extremely broadly, up to the highest levels of the ruling class and certainly far beyond that, against anyone who actively or even passively opposes this onslaught.

Heavy Consequences, an Unwritten Future

California has the largest number of immigrants of any state in the U.S. On January 1 of this year, California declared itself a “sanctuary state”* as several laws passed last year went into effect. One prevents local and state authorities from telling ICE agents when immigrants jailed for nonviolent offenses are about to be released, and from turning them over directly to federal custody. Another restricts employers from turning over information about their workers to ICE without a subpoena or court order. And a third empowers California officials to inspect federal detention centers to ensure that they meet the state’s health and safety standards.

Sessions went to Sacramento, the state capital, to announce a lawsuit the fascist Department of Justice he heads had filed against California to overturn these laws. Now, with their threats on Schaaf, they are threatening to arrest and prosecute state officials who enforce sanctuary measures that are state law.

The Trump/Pence fascist regime has embarked on a program of ethnic cleansing, for real. They have been implementing and enacting repressive anti-immigrant measures and laws, enabling police across the country to arrest immigrants, and enflaming a rabid, racist social base to carry out attacks, all aimed at driving out millions of immigrants. They are out to remove any obstacles in their way, legal, political, and otherwise, and they must not be allowed to succeed.

ALL sanctuary measures that exist must be fiercely defended, and more must be established. Alarms should ring at all ICE raids, and resistance should deepen and spread.

Officials like Schaaf (who is not on the same plane of power nor playing the same role as the shameless grinning collaborationist Fuck Schumer or Nancy Pig-losi) oppose attacks on immigrants and sanctuary from their own understanding of how best to pursue and maintain order in this society. We need a world that gets far beyond all the madness and horrors of this capitalist-imperialist system and the suffering it thrives upon. That’s an important contradiction to keep well in mind as we wage this battle, and it can and does have consequences both as to strategy and tactics—how far different forces will go in calling the masses of people into the streets, in fully standing up to the regime, and going over to calling for its political ouster.

But the clash between the fascist Trump/Pence regime and sanctuary advocates like Libby Schaaf is real, deadly serious, and laden with heavy consequences. The fascists are out to demolish the norms that have cohered U.S. society and slam into place new, fascist norms. Fascism attacks those who oppose it and the entire capitalist-imperialist system of which it is a concentration, but one of its main needs as it consolidates is to attack, shred, and replace the norms of liberal bourgeois democracy, and attack its prominent advocates. In this instance, with Trump/Pence, that includes the mainstream press, the Democrats, and others. In Germany, as the Nazis came to power, they replaced and forcibly abolished the liberal bourgeois Weimar Republic which had preceded them. (See “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It,” by Bob Avakian.)

The fascists in power in the U.S. have intensified already ferocious attacks on immigrants and taken them to a new level. They have initiated a policy of driving masses of people out of the country—a policy of ethnic cleansing. This includes the use of Nazi language—calling people “snakes,” calling entire countries “shitholes.” It includes attacks on officials who oppose the fascists, and ramping up as well as embedding in law the full range of attacks. The two sides in this conflict are not going to be able to “work out their differences.”

These attacks on immigrants are fucking intolerable. The legal assaults on sanctuary jurisdictions are fucking intolerable. Millions of people feel that way. The fascist attacks to dismantle sanctuary jurisdictions and threaten political leaders who defend it could be an opening through which things in this society get unglued. A process could get underway that is out of the control both of the fascists and the leadership of the Democratic Party, who try to contain the struggle within “acceptable” bounds. A real and massive fight to stop the fascist attacks on immigrants can inspire people to aim higher and should be built as part of the massive effort needed to drive out the entire Trump/Pence regime. It is up to us to seize and act on this moment, and push it as far as we can.


* What are sanctuary jurisdictions? Many states, counties, and cities have laws and policies that provide undocumented immigrants with some legal rights and access to services that allow them to function and survive. In 12 states and the District of Columbia, undocumented people can get driver’s licenses. Many cities issue their own form of government IDs that allow undocumented people access to some services, ranging from medical care to school enrollment to library cards. States, counties, and cities, and also schools, social service agencies, and other institutions, have policies that they will not inquire about the immigration status of people seeking their services. In addition, a wide range of public and private institutions—colleges and universities, churches, mosques, synagogues—offer different degrees and forms of sanctuary, up to and including that they will defy and resist any attempt to detain or deport undocumented people.

These measures have not prevented federal raids and carrying out ferocious repression against immigrants within the country and along the border. But they have enabled many immigrants to develop the semblance of an ability to function, work, go to school, and raise a family without the fear of arrest constantly over their heads. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/constructing-gallows-of-all-out-fascist-repression-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Under the Radar:
Constructing the Gallows of All-Out Fascist Repression in the U.S.

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Outside the spotlight of Washington politics, without passing a major piece of legislation like the notoriously repressive Patriot Act of the George W. Bush era (still in effect), the fascist forces led by the Trump/Pence regime are escalating political repression, and laying the legal and ideological groundwork for an unprecedented clampdown on political protest.

The recent threats by Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions—against the Oakland, California, mayor for having issued advance warning of upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and against the state of California for passing sanctuary laws that put limits on ICE’s ability to carry out immigrant roundups—were a major escalation of fascist repression. (See “Trump, Sessions Escalate Attacks on Sanctuary for Immigrants—This Is Intolerable! This Must Be Stopped.”) The following are some other examples of intensifying repression.

The January 20 Defendants and the Criminalization of Political Organizing

As we have written about previously, the arrest of and charges against more than 200 people demonstrating against Trump’s inauguration was “A MAJOR Escalation of Political Repression.” The “legal theory” of the U.S. attorney’s office was that every single person who participated in that demonstration was fully legally responsible for breaking windows at a half-dozen locations during the protest—and 194 faced charges carrying more than 60 years in prison! What’s more, the federal government demanded the names and email addresses of 1.3 million people who visited the Inauguration Day protest website. (Courts ended up placing some restrictions on the government’s massive online spying project.)

These charges were courageously resisted by the defendants, the vast majority of whom declined plea deals in favor of going to trial, and who collectively and with supporters carried out broad exposure of these repressive moves. On December 21, 2017, the trial of the first six defendants in this case ended in a stunning defeat for the government—all were acquitted, and one of the jurors explicitly stated afterwards that “The jury as a whole believes it is a legal act to attend a protest at which vandalism occurs.”

In the face of this, on January 18, 2018, the government dropped charges against 129 defendants, but doubled down on its persecution of the remaining 59, who it claims “(1) engaged in identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct; (2) participated in the planning of the violence and destruction; and/or (3) engaged in conduct that demonstrates a knowing and intentional use of the black-bloc tactic...”

Essentially point 2 refers to people who organized the protest—while the government has (for now) abandoned the argument that participation in the protest was criminal, it is pressing the position that organizing a protest at which alleged criminal acts occur makes you responsible for all of those alleged acts. And point 3 (“intentional use of the black-bloc tactic”) refers, in the government’s own words, to wearing “black or dark colored clothing, gloves, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, gas masks, helmets, hoodies and other face-concealing and face-protecting items....” So while the government has implicitly conceded that it was not illegal to be present at the protest, they are insisting that a certain style of dress (“black or dark clothing”), items aimed at protection against police assault (“gas masks, helmets”) or just normal winter wear (“gloves, scarves, ... hoodies”) mark you as a criminal and warrant 60 years in jail!

So while political and legal struggle did bring about significant victories, at this point the government is pursuing, in a more focused way, its effort to criminalize protest and to impose very long sentences on activists and organizers.

From Criminalization to Charges of “Terrorism”

From a number of angles, the fascists are moving to brand nonviolent civil disobedience and other forms of protest that go outside the boundaries of polite dissent as not only “criminal,” but as “terrorism.” Last May, we reported on anti-protest laws in legislatures in over 20 states. According to the ACLU, laws in two states (North Carolina and Washington) explicitly branded protests that caused economic disruption to be “terrorism,” and this was implicit in a number of the other laws; e.g., one in Oklahoma which treated sit-ins at pipeline facilities as criminal attacks on the U.S. infrastructure.

While most of these laws have not been passed (yet), they are indicative of how the fascists view protest, and of what kind of laws they will implement if and as they more fully consolidate power. But even without such laws, federal, state, and local law enforcement are increasingly treating protest as terrorism. One major mark of this was the August 2017 FBI report (leaked to the public in October) branding Black activists against police brutality and in other movements against oppression as “Black Identity Extremists.”

But the most chilling example comes from the months-long protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) organized by Native Americans who referred to themselves as “water protectors” in the Dakotas in 2016-17. The protests mainly consisted of peaceful encampments of hundreds of people on or near territory slated for pipeline construction, nonviolent protests, and Native American cultural and religious ceremonies. The Intercept revealed that in response, the corporation building DAPL brought in TigerSwan, a private security company started by a former Delta Force commander that bills itself as a counterterrorism operation and has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

TigerSwan described the water protectors as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component ... [that] generally followed the jihadist insurgency model”; its internal reports refer to protesters as “terrorists,” their protests as “attacks,” their encampment as a “battlefield.” TigerSwan also spoke of accumulating intelligence so they could “find, fix and eliminate” threats to the pipeline—language that closely echoes the military euphemism for assassination, “find, fix, finish.”

TigerSwan carried out a broad range of actions against the protests, including continuous helicopter surveillance of the scene, following and videotaping activists, and infiltrating spies into the encampment who consciously sought to “exploit” “ongoing native vs. non-native rifts” and other contradictions among the people.

But if you’re thinking that this was some rogue security operation backed by right-wing energy corporations, think again! TigerSwan worked in close conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement, sharing information including internal reports and live video feeds. Meanwhile the Federal Aviation Agency at times restricted media drones flying over the encampment while allowing police and TigerSwan aerial surveillance. To make the point even clearer, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was brought in to “interview” (i.e., harass) activists, and the Task Force, along with the Des Moines, Iowa, FBI office and Iowa’s Homeland Security agency met with TigerSwan in March to discuss “security assets and persons of interest.”

It’s important to emphasize here that in recent decades, branding a group or individual as “terrorist” has been construed to mean that they have no legal rights. Under Bush, the Guantánamo detention camp was filled with hundreds of captured men who were held indefinitely, many of whom were never charged with anything and almost none of whom ever had a trial. Under Obama, U.S. citizens branded as terrorists were executed in drone attacks (Anwar al-Awlaki, accused of producing Al Qaeda propaganda, and then two weeks later, his 16-year-old son, who was accused of nothing). During the presidential campaign, Trump called for killing the families of “terrorists,” and just this week called for a vast expansion of the death penalty in the U.S. to include “drug dealers.” So it is impossible to overstate the ominous significance of branding peaceful protesters as “terrorists.”

Collaboration Between (Nongovernmental) Fascist Organizations and “Law Enforcement”

This is yet another extremely serious development.

In the trials of the January 20 defendants, the prosecution is using edited videotapes provided by the Oath Keepers, a fascist paramilitary group made up mainly of present and former law enforcement, and Project Veritas, a right-wing group that specializes in carrying out secret videos of liberal and progressive groups, lying about their own identities, and asking questions aimed at providing material that they can then edit into something that seems incriminating—they have targeted ACORN, the Washington Post, and Planned Parenthood, among others.

In the Charlottesville, Virginia, demonstrations in August 2017, police stood by and did nothing when a fascist shot at a Black protester. Another Black man badly beaten by fascists there was later arrested and charged with a felony. In June 2016, police in Sacramento, California, worked with fascists to identify and arrest anti-fascist protesters.

Much of this police/fascist collaboration began even before Trump was elected. But as pointed out by civil liberties advocates and others, Trump has made clear that he’s giving a green light to the police to act against protesters, and he has sent a message to fascist forces within police forces that it’s completely acceptable to act on their views.

The collaboration between already vicious and violent police and heavily armed and violent fascist forces who have even fewer constraints than the police, signals an emerging leap towards “classical” fascist rule that combines “brown shirt” and “Gestapo” terror against the people. Coupled with the demonization and criminalization of political protest, and legal arguments that hold activists and organizers responsible for any alleged illegal actions by anyone at a protest, they together represent much of the architecture of a fully fascist society being clamped into place, no less deadly for being largely overlooked.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/resistance-takes-on-ice-raids-and-intensifying-ethnic-cleansing-of-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Resistance Takes on ICE Raids and Intensifying Ethnic Cleansing of Immigrants—People Everywhere Must Join In!

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The fight to stop this regime’s cold-blooded and criminal war on immigrants has reached a pivotal moment. Make no mistake about it: What we are witnessing is nothing less than a fascist, white supremacist ethnic cleansing program.

The Trump/Pence regime’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol enforcers are on a rampage, pumped by a barrage of lies and racist propaganda out of the mouths of Trump and his attack dogs, Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Thomas D. Homan. Hardly a day goes by without news of more crimes by ICE: raids and roundups... immigrants snatched up at hospitals, schools, and courthouses... arrests of Dreamers daring to confront ruthless politicians using their lives and futures as bargaining chips... mounting threats from the regime aimed at crushing the sanctuary movement.

In the face of this, immigrants and their supporters around the country have been organizing and taking action, and developing different forms of resistance: calling for marches and protests; creating “rapid response” networks; setting up surveillance of courthouses and other locations where ICE may be lying in wait; and spurring a dramatic increase in the number of churches and synagogues preparing and beginning to take in immigrants trying to avoid arrest, detention, and expulsion by ICE, and more.

The courageous struggle now being waged mainly by immigrants has to be actively joined and strengthened, now, by everyone with an ounce of humanity. And this movement has a powerful role to play in the movement called for by Refuse Fascism to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime through mass political action.

Here is a glimpse of the different forms of resistance developing across the country, including in areas beyond the major cities. (This is drawn in part from a recent front-page article in USA Today—“Warning of Raids, Staking Out Courthouses: Immigration Activists Find New Ways to Thwart Trump.”)

Meeting the Monsters and Their Attack Dogs Head On

Faith-Based Communities Stepping Forward to Provide Sanctuary

Stakeouts to Catch ICE Red-handed

Local and State Government Support for Sanctuary for Immigrants

Preparations for Defending Against ICE Raids

And there is much more organized resistance, from New York to Los Angeles, Houston to Denver, and beyond.

Stop Thinking Like Americans—
START THINKING ABOUT HUMANITY

The Trump/Pence fascists have not backed down in the face of opposition to their war on immigrants—they have doubled down. From day one, the ethnic cleansing of immigrants has been a cornerstone of the Make America White Again program of fascism in this country. And it has become the battering ram for overall consolidating their fascist rule, and there are real stakes for their whole fascist vision in the outcome.

There are tremendous stakes as well for the lives and the future of millions of immigrants in this country—and for humanity. The movement standing up in the face of this has to be joined and spread—right now. Not by falling in behind the Democrats, and being confined by the system’s electoral framework, but by acting independently. There are millions in this country today filled with disgust, anger, and agonizing who can be awakened and inspired to join in actively resisting the crimes of this enemy of immigrants, while organizing others to do the same. From college and high school campuses to the neighborhoods of the oppressed, among educators, lawyers, doctors, and artists—“business as usual” has got to be stopped. A powerful, growing movement actively refusing to tolerate ethnic cleansing has the potential to change the whole political terrain, and become an opening for the movement to drive this whole regime from power to take hold on a societal level.

 


1 The Handmaid’s Tale is a current TV series based on a Margaret Atwood novel depicting a Christian fascist society in which strict biblical law and patriarchal values are viciously enforced by the rulers.  [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/international-womens-day-2018-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018—
Women Stand Up Across the Globe!

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

IWD protest in Argentina
Women carried a huge banner for legalizing abortion in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Tomas F. Cuesta)

 

In Bangladesh... Argentina... South Korea... Pakistan... Afghanistan... Guatemala... United States... Mexico... the Philippines... and across the world, women and men marked International Women’s Day by chanting, protesting, raising banners, and dancing—calling out and standing up against the violence, sexual abuse, degradation, inequality, discrimination, and lack of reproductive rights women confront wherever they turn, wherever they are.

Signs of #MeToo appeared in marches as women around the world took inspiration from the righteous outpouring of rage against sexual abuse. Women called for overall equality, and in some cases an end to patriarchy. In the Philippines, women denounced President Duterte’s fascist campaign of mass murder and his threats against women. In Argentina, they condemned femicide and demanded abortion rights. In Turkey, thousands of women marched against “honor killings” and the Erdoğan regime’s fascistic attacks on basic rights. Thousands in Spain took part in a “feminist strike.” Women in Mexico and India protested rampant domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Roughly 30 years ago, Bob Avakian summed up:

The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances... It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms... The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement?*

Today this assessment is even more descriptive of the extreme polarization taking place around the question of women’s status in society—all around the world. Revolutionaries all over the world have a tremendous responsibility to jump into the midst of the burgeoning upheavals, protests, and debates around women’s oppression, and struggle to lead them in the direction of revolution and communism. Two invaluable resources in doing so are: Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution and A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity. And to connect with the Revolution Club to take out revolution and communism, click HERE.

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women As a Mighty Force for Revolution!

* Cited in A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity (Revolution Special Issue, 2009).  [back]

IWD protest in Mexico City   IWD Protest in New York City   IWD Protest in New York City

Above left: In Mexico City, marchers demanded justice for the many missing and murdered women and an end to rampant sexual abuse. (Photo: AP)  Above center and right: New York City, several hundred women marched and rallied in NYC. (Special to revcom.us/Revolution newspaper)
[Click photos to enlarge.]

IWD Protest in Pakistan   IWD Protest in Afghanistan   IWD Protest in Spain

Above left: In Seoul, South Korea, female workers supported the #MeToo movement, wearing black to an IWD rally. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  Above center: Hundreds of women marched in the Afghan capital of Kabul (Photo: RAWA.org).  Above right: Thousands of demonstrators in Spain protested male violence against women and demanded full equality. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

IWD Protest in Pakistan   IWD Protest in Turkey   IWD protest in Guatemala.

Above left: In Islamabad, Pakistan, women marched, some holding signs that said “Stop Killing Women.” (Photo:AP)  Above center: Women in Turkey held letters forming the word “NO” in Turkish, played drums and chanted slogans during the IWD protest, and condemned the Erdoğan regime, filling the streets in the main shopping road of Istanbul. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)  Above right: As part of an IWD event in Guatemala, people lay on the ground to remember 41 girls who died in a fire a year ago at a youth shelter. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/digging-deep-and-wide-in-immigrant-community-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Digging in, Deep and Wide, in an Immigrant Community

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

We did a showing of the film of the talk by Bob Avakian (BA), THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, in a Caribbean immigrant community in Brooklyn. This was the third showing in this community, building off the two previous showings and work done to spread word about the film at a nearby college.

There was intense and serious discussion and struggle after the showing, with people wrestling with what BA said in the film. Everybody’s comments reflected a deep feeling that we are confronting a large and dangerous problem, and diverse views on why this is happening and what to do about it.

The discussion was kicked off by an older college student who said, “I agree with everything he had to say.” She felt Trump does pose a great danger, and the Democrats are no answer. She felt people needed to be educated to the real situation and that the film could bring that out to them. She added that the root cause of all the misery whites had brought to the Caribbean was greed for money and land. And that the spread of disease had played a role in the devastation of the indigenous people.

Then she raised her reservations about the possibility of really changing things. She felt people were too scared of communism to embrace BA’s solution. She said religion helped to anchor Americans and Americanized immigrants into the status quo, citing statements by evangelicals that “God had put 45 [referring to Donald Trump] there for a reason.” To her, this made building a third party and aiming for change through the ballot box a more practical approach.

Others agreed with her about the danger Trump posed and the need to educate people to this danger. And no one felt that the Democrats could be relied on to do this. Several of them went off in different directions off of this.

An older person felt that Trump being in the White House represented not only rolling back everything Obama had done, but bringing back repressive policies targeting Black people going all the way back to the 1950s and earlier. “Is it fascism? I don’t know what else to call it.” He dropped some serious history, citing how the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s had Jim Crow segregation policies built into them. He compared the way liberals are dealing with Trump to the way England had appeased Hitler. “If Trump isn’t stopped, he’ll go as far as he can.” He pointed out that Trump’s constituency IS those lynch mobs BA spoke of in the film.

A friend who had come with him was doubtful that we could do anything about this. “How you gonna change consciousness among the oppressed? How do they learn who the real enemy is and stop fighting each other, and how do we mobilize them to fight?”

We brought the discussion back to the way BA speaks in the film to the urgency of acting to drive the regime out, focusing on the all-around attack on immigrants. The older college student made two points: first, that Trump has spoken of targeting birthright citizenship in order to keep the country white; and second, she recounted ICE coming into a hospital in Atlanta where people from St. Croix were being treated for injuries and illnesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. ICE demanded that these people, who were hooked up to IVs and in desperate need of treatment, present their papers to show that they were “legitimately” in the U.S. She also told of a Mexican man who died after suffering a heart attack because he was refused treatment because he didn’t have his papers.

The older guy felt the DACA recipients were being targeted because they were educated and serving as articulate spokespeople for the cause of the immigrants.

The college student took things back to the need to act, stressing that the action had to be through the ballot box because while people were open to voting for a socialist (she meant Bernie Sanders), they weren’t ready to get behind a communist and into revolution. She also raised that Trump, while dangerous, was on the way out; that he’d be gone by the end of the year, either because of Mueller’s investigation or by the mobilization around gun control being spearheaded by the kids in Florida. And again, that what was needed was building an anti-capitalist third party for the election in 2020.

This sparked off an exchange over differences. We posed whether Trump, who said he wouldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election if he lost, would pack up and leave because Mueller’s investigation went badly for him or the elections in 2018 didn’t go his way. One guy said we can’t even be sure about there being another election—and that Trump has threatened to nuke North Korea, and if he does, we don’t know what will happen.

Another person put out her view that society was already going against capitalism and what it does to the planet. She noted that business owners and professors have formed groups like one called something like the Conscious Capitalist Group, which focuses on limiting the damage done to the environment.

The older guy asked what Farrakhan had to say about Trump. He was surprised to hear that Farrakhan has said he could make a deal with Trump and had argued that Black people shouldn’t criticize Trump. He was very interested in reading the articles that have been run in revcom.us on this.

A member of the Revolution Club read this quote from BA:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

The Club member spoke of the impact that the youth and people on the bottom of society acting can have on the thinking of people broadly in society. And we wound things up speaking to what BA said in the film about what fascism is and what this regime has already done. Off of this, we returned to BA’s argument in the film of what’s needed to deal with this reality. We told people about the video clips of the Question and Answer session from the filmed talk, where BA digs into some of the same things that came up in this discussion. And we called on people to be part of the campaign to get this film known about, seen, and talked about—quickly—by tens of thousands and more people, how key this is to changing what people know and do.

People began to talk about others they could show the film to and about influential people and important institutions that needed to be approached to show the film. We talked about how to follow up on these ideas. And people got material from the Revolution Books table to get more into BA and the revolutionary movement he leads, including BA’s book THE NEW COMMUNISM; HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution from the Central Committee of the RCP; DVDs of the BA talk on fascism and the Question and Answer session; DVDs of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian; and Revolution newspaper.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/ba-talk-vignettes-from-los-angeles-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

“Now is a moment when you have to tell the truth to people”—Vignettes from Los Angeles on taking out BA’s THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers in LA:

The following are some glimpses of initial reactions and responses from people on watching clips and excerpts from BA’s THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

* One student responded to watching the full talk, “These are things I feel and think but can’t talk about with people because they’re so entrenched into the way things are.” He said, appreciatively of BA in the talk that, “Now is a moment when you have to tell the truth to people.” Another person said, also appreciatively: “He put the problem right in front of your face; no tiptoeing around.”

* One student who has seen the talk is telling everyone they know that we’re not going to stop Trump and Pence through voting, but that we have to be in the streets. They’ve taken responsibility to spread the word to others of this talk and they’re working together, in different ways, to build resistance to the crimes of the Trump/Pence regime while linking it to the struggle needed to drive out the regime. And they’re having a lot of discussion and struggle over questions of epistemology, identity politics and more as they are doing this.

* With watching the film, and some back-and-forth struggle, a student is coming to see that elections won't end the system of capitalism and that elections won't put a stop to fascism. The student is now reading THE NEW COMMUNISM.

* A woman we’ve known for some time, who lost her son to police murder, loved the film. She was really pumped up off watching it and at one point in the midst was saying, “Black people don’t know this and need to.” This was in response to the GTF1... She is very frustrated that Black people are not doing more around this and generally are so quiet.... She also commented, “Black people need to get that this is about everyone—people are suffering everywhere. That is what they need to be about.” After the film she spoke to how BA is teaching people how we got to this situation and what slavery has to do with where we are today. She was recently with a bunch of other families of victims of police murder and was frustrated that people were relying on politicians and struggled with them about this. She said she taught them the chant: “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide and War. 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great!” and everyone loved it. She was enlisted in the promotion of the film, especially on social media. She is also getting out cards. We need to learn the response she has gotten.

* The woman we met with considers herself a Christian revolutionary and has seen BA talks in the past. She and I watched about half of the talk. Right after it began, she made me pause it so she could take notes. She commented out loud during the viewing in response to points made by BA: Donald Trump claims to have won the popular vote—“that’s a damn lie.” Re slavery: We have to judge things by the standards of the times. People back then did not know better—“Bull.”

After BA states, if police shot down dogs wantonly there would be a huge hue and cry but the same people are silent when this is done to people of darker skin—she stops the talk and tells the story of her relative who was shot by police. She was out putting up posters of him in the neighborhood. There were posters up of a missing dog. A police comes on her and threatens her to take her poster down. She refuses and asks what about the poster of the dog. He responds people care about that dog.

Another point in the talk that got her interest: “Free Yourself from the GTF!”

She gets challenged a lot by people in her church and family. What is a Christian doing with a communist? Her basic response is we are both for justice. She is influenced by a lot of the propaganda about communism, as are people she knows. She thought she would need to study about BA and communism a lot so she could explain BA to people.

I told her if she likes it, then spread it and let BA speak for himself. She went to Facebook and started sharing.

****

We look forward to learning more about the responses to this film and the experiences spreading it to others. Write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com

 


1. This is a section of the talk where BA discusses “the Great Tautological Fallacy” of narrow American chauvinism, a circular argument that assumes the “goodness” of America with an assumption that therefore it’s a force for good in the world... because of its “fundamental goodness,” etc. But this is a BLOODY LIE which BA exposes in substantive and visceral ways. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/ba-talk-vignettes-from-nyc-campuses-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Taking Out BA’s THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!—Vignettes from NYC Campuses

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club, New York:

Over the last three weeks members of the Revolution Club and others have shown clips and excerpts from BA’s (Bob Avakian) THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! to scores of students on various campuses throughout New York City. What manifests repeatedly in people’s comments is an appreciation for the reality of what humanity actually confronts that BA brings alive in the clips, as well as struggle to be scientific, to go further and understand more deeply BA’s analysis of why we find ourselves in this situation and what to do about it. This points even more to the need for people to watch the full film, and the Q&As, and for this to be broadly engaged and debated. Some glimpses of initial reactions and responses:

* “A first-generation immigrant student watched the first 22+ min. of the film and found himself in agreement with a lot of what BA said and through the course of brief discussion felt challenged existentially over what he’ll do with what he understands/knows. He felt like he needed time to process what he heard even as he was very moved by the analysis and exposure on white supremacy and how we got here, the long and short story.”

* “One high school student who watched the whole film gathered several others at her school on March 1st, around 12 seniors and freshmen, and invited the Revolution Club to the gathering. They started with a short intro and watched the clip ‘What are we facing?’ from the BA film and opened it up for discussion. Mainly what the youths talked about was how they had disdain and disgust for Trump and what he represents as well as the running theme of ‘immigrants are what make America what it is’ and ‘America (the multi-nationality) being a diverse force for good in the world.’ The students present were a mix of white youths, a person from Uzbekistan, as well as a young woman whose parents are from South Korea. All of them come from more progressive backgrounds. They had some back and forth over what America has actually done in the world and the youths who helped put together the gathering challenged everyone to go deeper and expressed that people need to watch the full BA film to really get an understanding of the truth about what this country has represented to the rest of the world as well as why we are in the situation that we’re in. As she announced this, both of them (the student organizers) passed around the film card and the ‘BA: A Contended Question’ statement. There was struggle amongst the students over whether this country has made a lot of opportunities for immigrants and how that is a part of what makes this country so great, versus what this country really has done in the world and how it has caused people to flee their countries in search for safety in many cases. Both of the young women who helped put together the event spoke to what they understand about what this regime represents and their own thoughts and fears about the generation that they are a part of, rising up, and becoming a part of a movement to stop everything that this fascist regime represents.”

* “Two students watched the clip ‘The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today’ and were appreciative of ‘a white man’ saying these things. They wanted to break down any barriers amongst races and felt people needed to come together in such troubling times. They were never introduced to a radical alternative of how the world could be and were provoked to find out more about the overall movement for revolution. While there they sent the link out to a group chat amongst their club members to be able to discuss having a film screening on campus.”

* “We had two different interactions with students organizing with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). One of the students was in a class of a professor who ordered books from Revolution Books (this professor also allowed us to make a brief presentation about the bookstore and the film). She remembered us from this exchange and watched the clip ‘Free Yourself from the GTF!’ and one of the things that she really resonated with and that divided her friends out (she watched the clip with a group of friends) was the critique of America including the Great Tautological Fallacy. In a different instance, another student with SJP watched about half the film. Initially she had watched the trailer and was stopped in her tracks because she’d been thinking about how there’s not enough critique amongst the left of the role of America in the world. This young woman is an international student who came to the U.S. to study but has been further moved into political life because of the election of Trump. And given the fact that she’s in America, larger questions in regards to social justice/activists’ responsibility are posed to her. She found herself agreeing with a lot of what BA had to say as she was nodding along through the 22+ minutes she watched. After the film clip she walked through her thinking further insofar as the critique of U.S. imperialism and in her words, appreciated ‘the intersectionality’ portrayed in the film.”

* “One student chose to watch the question on ‘if we drive out Trump, what next?’ (Q&A Part 1 at 11:10) and the one on immigrants (Q&A Part 2 at 11:30). Between clips, she commented a lot on what BA was saying, especially when he talked about Pence—about whom she’d known almost nothing, even his name was foreign to her! And she was struck when he said, in response to the immigrant question, that ‘we can’t protect people from what the people in power are intending to do to them except by driving out the people in power.’ She said she and her friends had been struggling with individual solutions to not get deported like getting married, etc. ‘I understand what [BA] is saying, because it’s not like that would work since the Christian fascists hate gay people, and immigrants,’ plus she’s ‘only one person and there’s so many more people.’ This woman had a deep visceral response to the clip on immigrants. She organized her friends to watch this same clip on March 1st as several of them are going thru this contradiction in one way or another.”

* “One student was very moved by the clip ‘What are we facing?’ and felt everything in that clip was true but then went on to explain that our only hope was the upcoming elections. We then showed her the clip “Why is it the Democrats can only try to resolve this on the terms of the system?” to which she fell a bit silent; she kind of soberly said neither of them are really fighting for our interests and it’s all been a setup. There was more richness to our back and forth and mainly I think there was a valve that was unleashed that allowed her to talk about all her pent-up anger over what’s been happening this past year. She said there’s some classes where this is being talked about but in the main she’s felt like she’s just had to continue and go about her business/life.”

* “We watched the clip ‘What are we facing?’ and one student dove straight into the attacks on the press and bounced off on the attacks on LGBTQ and Black people, etc. She said she’s been thinking about the persecution of people and the consolidation of fascism in Nazi Germany and she’s stunned by the similarities to what’s happening in America. She said she’s very concerned for the safety of all peoples and doesn’t really know how else to make sense of it all.”

In most cases, people said they were provoked to go home and watch the whole film, and in several cases students talked about the need for others to see what they have just seen, bringing out in different ways why this must be part of what is contending in how people understand what we confront with Trump and Pence and what that means for what we must do. We are working with a few to set up fuller showings of the film with their friends or in their classes or on campus that they would play a role in organizing.

****

We look forward to learning more about the responses to this film and the experiences spreading it to others. Write to us at: revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/message-to-the-man-who-knew-too-little-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

A Message to the “Man Who Knew Too Little” and All Who Choose Not to Confront the Reality of the Fascist Nightmare

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I recently read a New York Times lifestyle piece titled “The Man Who Knew Too Little“ that covered the life of Erik Hagerman, a former top corporate executive, who has (since Trump/Pence came to power) gone to great lengths to stick his head in the sand. Hagerman has sworn to not learn anything about developments in U.S. and world politics after November 8, 2016. Hagerman has created a fantasy world for himself where he never has to confront the reality of the rapid transformation of the U.S. to a fascist form of governing. This lifestyle piece speaks to the reality that, like Hagerman, there are many people who call themselves liberals, leftists, or democrats who are seeking to cope with the reality of a fascist regime coming to power. Looking for one way or another to “get on” with their relatively stable lives and turning away from confronting reality.

Well, I have a message to the “man who knew too little” and to all those who wish to escape from this nightmare but are instead turning towards fantasy:

Whether you choose to confront reality as it actually is or not, this reality will eventually confront you. Just as it is confronting millions already. The dynamics of capitalism-imperialism are creating profound necessity for the rulers of this system and there is a powerful compulsion towards an extreme resolution of these dynamics. And now in the world’s biggest superpower a fascist regime has risen to power that is shredding the old laws and governing norms in society and hammering into place an openly white supremacist, male supremacist, and American chauvinist form of rule that relies on naked force and violence to remove all obstacles in its way.

Just in the last week, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants (documented or not) can be detained indefinitely while ICE rounds up hundreds in Gestapo-like raids of immigrant communities; Mike Pence ominously announced that abortion would be abolished “in our time”; and all of this while (despite the “promises” of talks with North Korea) the threatening rumbles of global nuclear war grow louder. Is this really the kind of world you want to live in?

What if I told you there is a way to actually end this nightmare, that it doesn’t require fantasy, but it will require confronting reality as it actually is? There is no better tool for understanding what we are facing right now, and therefore what is required of us, than the recent film of a talk called THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible by Bob Avakian. As the website revcom.us says of the film:

Bob Avakian (BA) dissects that the election of Donald Trump signals that we are being confronted and now ruled by a fascist regime. It examines why people voted for Trump and how things came to the point where we are confronting the real horror of a fascist America. Told briefly is the “longer story,” the broader history that has led to this.

In the talk, BA drives home the importance of taking sustained, mass, defiant, nonviolent action to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, and he takes on the most common arguments against doing so. In the wide-ranging question and answer that follows, BA digs into the problems facing the movement against fascism. This talk repays repeated viewing and discussion.

(Watch the talk and find out more at revcom.us.)

It is not an exaggeration to say that the lives of billions of human beings and even the planet itself depend on what we do or don’t do in this critical historical moment. There is a basis in reality to end this nightmare, there are millions who hate this, but it will require grasping and confronting reality as it actually is: that this is fascism and the only solution is mass action of millions, in defiant nonviolent protests, to drive this regime out, before it consolidates.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/awtwns-why-the-italian-elections-mean-bad-news-for-the-world-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

From A World to Win News Service:

Why the Italian Elections Mean Bad News for the World and What to Do About It

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Note from revcom.us: Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has been touring Europe, touting fascism and white supremacy, and giving backing to fascist groups. He told a gathering of the fascist National Front Party in France, “Let them call you racists. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor.” The results of the recent election in Italy, gone into in this A World to Win News Service article, represent a big leap in fascism in Europe.

 

March 9, 2018. A World to Win News Service. The results of the Italian parliamentary elections are as alarming as they are grotesque. Grotesque in that the two parties that fared the best, splitting the electorate between them, the fascist League and the “libertarian” Five Star Movement, two apparent opposites, are united against immigration. Alarming because they demonstrate how quickly a violent, racist, fascistic mood can descend on a Western country, catching even many of its own people by surprise.

Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser and a leading white/male/American supremacist ideologue, came to Italy to witness the elections and celebrate the results. “The Italian people have gone farther, in a shorter period of time, than the British did for Brexit and the Americans did for Trump,” he told the New York Times. “Italy is the leader.”

Collapse of the Traditional Ruling Parties and the Rise of the Fascists

The results marked the collapse of the two main parties that have dominated the country since the end of World War 2.

The governing Democratic Party, whose roots lie in the days when workers voted for the thoroughly non-revolutionary Communist Party, lost more than half its previous voters and came in a distant third. Things went even worse for Forza Italia, led by the notorious media magnate and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, often labelled the original Trump. European Union (EU) officials and other European powers had hoped that if the Democratic Party they preferred didn’t win, Berlusconi would, and govern alongside the Democratic Party in something like the German model of a “center-left/center-right grand coalition.”

For the purposes of this election Berlusconi had entered into an alliance with the League. Yet instead of him benefiting from this alliance, the League triumphed, and his party was all but wiped out. The third party in his affinity group was the Brothers of Italy. The Brothers claim to be the heirs of Benito Mussolini, whose regime (1922-45) was the world’s first to call itself fascist. Mussolini was Hitler’s main ally in Europe in World War 2. One of the most telling indicators of just how far the political mainstream in the imperialist countries has shifted to the right is that leading Western media outlets referred to this line-up as “center-right.”

This new-found respectability—in the eyes of the Western ruling classes and its pundits—for fascist forces, even while expressing distaste for them, is a major factor in the triumph of the League. Formerly called the Northern League, it is far from a newcomer on the Italian political scene. Based among the well-off in Italy’s richest regions, its original reason for existence was opposition to the use of tax money to develop southern Italy, which for a long time served as a source of labor for the immensely profitable northern industries. Its leaders are infamous for calling southern Italians lazy, dirty and smelly, using the Italian equivalent of the “n-word.” But now that category is applied to someone else. Almost overnight, the League abandoned its regionalism, dropped its opposition to the EU and adopted a new slogan, “Italians first,” declaring that all Italians must unite to expel all recent immigrants, for a start. Now it is Italy’s largest party in parliament, and its leader, Matteo Salvini, is demanding that the country’s figurehead president appoint him to form the next government.

No party won a majority, so any future government would be based on a coalition. The League could join with the Democratic Party, which helped pave the way for the League by criminalizing humanitarian efforts to rescue immigrants from drowning and using the navy and Libyan warlords to prevent boats with refugees from leaving North Africa by military force. This led to imprisonment of many thousands of Africans in concentration camps in Italy’s former colony. The Democratic Party played a major role in popularizing anti-immigrant sentiment and legitimating fascist positions.

Or there could be a coalition between the League and the Five Star Movement. The fact that leading political commentators in Italy and abroad see this as a conceivable “solution” to Italy’s political crisis tells you a lot more about Five Star than many of its own supporters like to admit.

Five Star insists that it is a political movement, not a party. Its attitude toward political parties and traditional respectability is encapsulated in its official slogan, “Go fuck yourself.” Its self-image is displayed in its logo featuring a V, resembling the V-shaped mask from the 2005 film V for Vendetta and later adopted by anti-establishment groups like Occupy in the U.S. and UK. V stands for “Go” and is also the Roman numeral for five, referring to the movement’s “five star” core concerns: re-nationalizing Italy’s public water system, sustainable transport, sustainable development, environmentalism and Internet access for all. Its founding rules call for all “direct democracy” (all decisions decided by referendum on the Web), strict restrictions to prevent the emergence of permanent leaders and an end to “professional” politics by requiring its elected officials to turn over much of their salary.

Yet only ten years after its founding, Five Star has now become a political party, one whose 31-year-old new leader, Luigi Di Maio, is known for his clean-cut appearance and suit and tie in contrast to the deliberate scruffiness of its comedian co-founder, Beppe Grillo. Di Maio, too, is demanding to be named to form a government, which would almost surely mean a coalition with one or more of the parties it has defined itself against.

This is not what was imagined by many of Five Stars’ supporters, who are generally less religious, less traditional and somewhat younger than those of the other parties. They include students, professionals and small and medium businessmen who feel crushed by the political system and the enormous and omnipresent corruption it is synonymous with. Initially it tried to take a less than clear position on immigration, focusing its attacks on “the immigration business,” the (very real) abuses by the criminal organizations that feed on the official asylum centers, and the demand that other European countries take their share of migrants instead of confining them to Italy. Yet even though the Five Star program opposed the other parties’ anti-immigrant rhetoric, its own position still amounted to a kind of libertarian version of “Italians first,” in line with their position against Italy remaining in the EU (in the European Parliament it has joined the grouping with the “Brexit”1 leader Nigel Farage). For both the League and Five Star, the underlying nationalism that has been a driving factor in their opposition to the EU has become even more strongly embraced as the immigration issue has become more central throughout Europe.

Rising Anti-Immigrant Hatred

Anti-immigrant sentiment on today’s scale is relatively new in Italy. A few years ago, when small boats first began heading for Sicily, the Italian shores closest to North Africa, and the Italian and other European governments deliberately let thousands of people drown, local fisherman and others took it on themselves to rescue would-be immigrants and take them in. Local officials in Lampedusa, a small island near Tunisia, where many people were washed up, bitterly criticized the government for not giving the newcomers the help they deserved. Today, it’s not clear if such people changed their minds or have simply been overwhelmed by a growing anti-immigrant sentiment that the state and all the political parties did everything to bring into being.

The influx of immigrants in recent years does not explain why so many Italians have come to consider immigration a concentration of everything that frustrates and humiliates them in their society, a “crisis” that has to be resolved through the most drastic (and inhuman) measures—why it has become the main battering ram for fascism. Surely it has something to do with the idea that people born in Italy—and, increasingly, not all those born there but just those born of “real” Italians—are entitled, by the fact of that birth in an imperialist country that draws wealth from all over the world, to live better and consider themselves better than people from countries dominated and bled by the global imperialist system. Some people argue that economic problems, especially high unemployment, are to blame for the anti-immigrant hysteria, but the jobs immigrants find, basically making the country’s much-vaunted exports—working in the vineyards and agriculture in general, in the hi-tech small and medium factories of the north making special fabrics and other luxury goods, and providing the personal care and other social services that help preserve the traditional family structure—are jobs that many Italians no longer feel compelled to accept.

The Five Star Movement and many self-identified “people of the left” have essentially embraced this feeling of entitlement. It goes hand in hand with the reformist view that instead of seeking a radically changed society, tries to make the existing society work better by replacing its corrupt managers. Despite talk about “the system,” this movement’s opposition has been moving dangerously closer to the fascists’ rhetoric, and comes down to the goal of changing political structures and not the underlying economic relations of exploitation and oppressive social relations. They end up sharing with the fascists the core aim of a “better” imperialist Italy and a “better deal” (for Italians) within the global imperialist food chain, rather than the end of the monopoly capitalist system that shapes everyone’s lives and brings countries into antagonism with one another, both between the countries that do the feeding and those that are fed upon, and between rival imperialist countries.

As the immigration issue got sharper and sharper, Five Star clarified its position. In line with the government itself, its leader denounced NGOs for carrying out search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying that amounted to providing “taxis” to bring in immigrants. Today its stand is hard to distinguish from the “Italians first” of the outright fascists. Whether Five Star ends up joining a coalition with fascists or a rival coalition, or some combination of both, it has become a cog in the wheel of a complex political process impelling the rise of fascism in Italy today.

A few weeks before the elections, in the central Italian town of Macerata, a young man who had been a local candidate for the League got out of his car, draped himself in an Italian flag, gave the Mussolini fascist salute and proceeded to shoot six passers-by he took to be African (fortunately, none died). He said he was avenging the atrocious murder of an Italian woman by Nigerian criminals, but nobody shoots Italians at random to retaliate against Italian Mafia murders. After this, every political current took a stand. The head of the League said he was against violence, but Africans had brought violence to Italy (!!!). Smaller fascist groups called for Italians to rally around the shooter. Thousands of people came to take part in an anti-fascist march—and there have been more, across the country. But with Five Star increasingly joining in the chorus decrying “out of control immigration,” its supporters were far too absent from the anti-fascist protests at this critical time. The fascist call to expel half a million or more people immediately—with all the naked state force that would require—is being legitimized and now packaged as a demand of “the people.”

Rise of Fascism in Europe

Far too many Europeans think that fascism has peaked, that it couldn’t grip their countries, just as most people thought about Italy. In fact, until now, many people thought that it could only come to power in the poorer countries of Eastern Europe, not in Western Europe and certainly not in the Eurozone’s third-largest economy.

But there’s something deeper to be learned from the Italian example. In France, for instance, the France Insoumise2 movement headed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon3 is going down the same path as Five Star, shifting from deliberate ambiguity on immigrants to adopting the same conciliatory logic: that mass immigration is a critical problem, that if the state doesn’t take measures to halt it then the fascists will triumph, leaving no “practical” choice but to adopt an anti-immigrant position. Currently, the “centrist” government of Emmanuel Macron is moving to implement extremely cruel policies against immigrants—not in the face of upcoming elections but after an election in which Macron owes his victory to people who voted for him to defeat the candidate of the fascist National Front. Instead of rallying people against this, Mélenchon has remained uncharacteristically silent. Right now practically none of the organized French “left” is joining the Christians, humanitarians and NGOs in fighting for the idea that all human beings have the same rights. The National Front may be dragged down in internal squabbles for the moment, but ideologically the path is being cleared for them.

In the UK, too, even many people who consider themselves revolutionary can’t break with the “my country first” (or, in its “leftist” version, “my people first”) thinking embodied in Brexit and infusing the Labour Party. During the Brexit referendum campaign, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn acquiesced to the frenzied cry to “control” “our borders.” Did Labour target the criminal responsibility of British imperialism in driving millions from their homes through its murderous participation in the U.S.-led wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan? Of course not. Labour’s key argument instead was that immigrants make a net contribution to the British economy—in other words, they’re good for “us Brits.” With the blinkers of nationalism narrowing their vision to “my country,” all too many progressive people have allowed themselves to slip into supporting positions that they never thought they would have.

Whatever the different features to the rise of fascism around Europe, it’s being produced by economic and social developments within societies that are in turn driven and determined by what’s happening in the world imperialist system as a whole. This is what’s behind the necessities faced by every imperialist ruling class, including in Italy, as the traditional liberal democratic governing arrangements that have been in place since World War 2 crack apart under the pressure of tectonic shifts in the world imperialist system, and as rivalry between the imperialists sharpens—so that Italy, for example, now finds it both possible and necessary to aggressively step up its intervention in North Africa alongside Libya’s warlord regime. These global shifts also underlie the changing configuration of Italy’s economy and society, leading to the violent reassertion of the core values that have held that society together.

When the American fascist Bannon said, “The Italian people have gone farther,” he left where this is going unsaid. These fascists don’t want power just to enrich themselves. They intend to reconfigure and use the capitalist state to carry out extremely violent changes, as soon as possible, to a status quo that is cracking wide open in the face of the objective forces roiling today’s world. In the name of “Italians first,” they are willing to shed the blood of anyone who opposes the crimes they are preparing.

Stopping fascism requires a unity that is as broad as this horrendous situation requires, and at the same time events themselves are making it clear that there must be a core of people who understand how the imperialist system has brought about this situation, and therefore view fighting fascism as part of dealing with the problems at their root, through revolution, and consequently, while uniting broadly, can struggle against the illusions and wrong thinking that have helped the rise of fascism and could sabotage the struggle against it. Some people have to take that responsibility.


1. Brexit was the 2016 decision by Britain to leave the European Union. See the revcom.us article “3 Points on Brexit.” [back]

2. "Insoumise" translates roughly as "France Unbowed." [back]

3. The leader of Insoumise, Mélenchon is seen as a social-democratic, or "left-wing populist" political leader. [back]

 

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

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/531/thousands-of-students-demand-school-shootings-end-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Thousands of Students Demand School Shootings End—Awakening to Political Life, Confronting Big Questions

Updated March 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Outraged that schools have become war zones, heartbroken at losing loved ones, fed up with post-massacre “thoughts and prayers,” and determined to end the epidemic of school massacres, thousands of students rallied, protested, and walked out of schools this past week, demanding these shootings end! “Never again should an innocent life be taken while trying to gain an education,” one student declared.

Sparked by the massacre of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students across South Florida walked out: 3,000 protested at Florida’s State Capitol in Tallahassee, and others protested in Washington, DC, Silver Spring, Maryland, as well as in Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington state. National protests are being planned for March 14 and 24.

Everyone should be outraged and digging into why this is happening and how to stop it for real!

Awakening and Confronting Big Questions

The students in Florida and others have come straight up against a hideous manifestation of the real nature of this system and society and the horrors and madness it spawns. Big questions are posed and the students are searching for answers. They’re speaking out about what it means to go through one of these murderous rampages—or to live in fear of one. They’re demanding it stop. And they’re saying they’re going to be the ones that will stop it. There’s a streak of contempt for the political establishment that’s allowed this to continue, and rage at groups like the NRA with its fascist gun culture. It is criminally insane that young people simply trying to go to school, get an education, hang with friends, and grow into life are being shot down in American schools.

There are a lot of conflicting ideas in the mix.

The students’ main demand, one the Democrats and liberal media have pushed for years, is gun control. If you think the problem is a few crazed, hate-filled, or deranged people who’ve gotten hold of high-powered automatic weapons, then gun control seems like the obvious, immediate, practical way to make sure such people can’t get such weapons and that students are safe.

But the problem is bigger and deeper.

The reality is that mass violence is as American as apple pie, woven into its fabric and DNA. It is rooted in the origins and history of America, its system and its political structures, the social relations and the culture it has given rise to and continues to reinforce. To change this, you have to get at those roots.

For an open, painful sore, it may seem logical to apply a band-aid. But if it is a symptom and manifestation of a deeper problem like cancer, it will not work, and may even do harm.

Gun Control and Background Checks: Is the Answer Really Giving This System, This State MORE Power?

What will it mean to enact gun control laws and background checks?

Do we want to give even more power to Trump and his cohorts who say the white supremacists in Charlottesville are “fine people”?

Do we want to give even more power and even more of a free hand to this system’s armed enforcers? In neighborhoods not far from Stoneman Douglas or almost any other high school, you will find police are already harassing, jacking up, violently assaulting, incarcerating, and killing Black and Brown youths. You will find ICE ripping immigrant families apart.

Consider the contrast between how Florida treated George Zimmerman and Marissa Alexander: Zimmerman stalked the unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin, assaulted him, and then shot the 17-year-old dead. Marissa Alexander was a victim of ongoing domestic abuse who feared for the safety of her children, so she fired a warning shot into the air. Yet, Zimmerman walked free and Marissa Alexander was torn from her children and sent to prison!

Or consider this: During CNN’s February 22 Town Hall on this school massacre, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel argued that police should be able to detain people before they were deemed a threat to themselves or others.

But the police, not just in Broward County but around the country, have been caught on camera time and time and time again beating people to death, tasing people to death, shooting kids in the back, choking unarmed men to death, planting drugs on those they’ve beaten, and on and on. Overwhelmingly the victims of this terror are Black and Brown—and almost always the police walk scot free.

Or consider this: Stoneman Douglas student Lorenzo Prado desperately feared for his life when a local SWAT team temporarily mistook him for the shooter. The reality behind his story of legitimate terror: “I, not trying to be one of those news stories of someone dying wrongfully because they refused to put their hands up, I just dropped my phone at that moment and kept going.... I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me.... I knew any move I made would be the end of my life.”

THIS is the capitalist-imperialist state (the institutions and structures, including the armed enforcers like the police, that maintain and enforce the political power of this system and its ruling class) that would be given even more power through background checks and gun control legislation.

This state itself cannot be given the power to further regulate the ability of people to defend themselves against reactionary and illegitimate violence, as this state is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. Any additional powers to which you lend your voice to legitimize this will sooner or later—and usually sooner—be used against the people and against political movements of resistance.

This happened in the 1920s against immigrants and radicals. During World War 2, when the Japanese were interned. In the 1950s, repression was unleashed against suspected communists. And in the 1960s, through the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO program against revolutionaries and civil rights and antiwar groups. Ever expanding instruments of state repression and spying—legitimized as the “War on Terror”—were turned on Muslim communities after 9/11, and more recently against Occupy and the mass protest movements against police murder.

Don’t be foolish. New gun control measures would only heighten that repression. Guns—especially high-powered automatic weapons—would NOT be taken from the state and its brutal military and police. Proposed background checks allow sections of the people—like the NRA and the white-supremacist fascists who marched in Charlottesville―who say they are preparing for “race war”—to still buy guns, while barring others.

Mass Violence—As American as Apple Pie!

This country was forged through massive violence, against the oppressed and the exploited—with guns, bombs, slave shackles, lynching ropes. From the genocide of Native Americans, to the enslavement and lynching of Black people, to the “Wild West” expansion and theft of Mexican land, to the brutal exploitation of immigrants, to imperialist wars around the world—the Philippines, Vietnam, Haiti, El Salvador, Iraq, and the list goes on and on. American Crime at revcom.us documents these in a continuing series. It’s what this country is built on: white supremacy, misogyny, and American imperialist supremacy.

American violence is not a partisan issue. Let’s look at the Democrats’ record: they ushered in the nuclear nightmare at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They’ve started and supported murderous war after war, from Vietnam to Iraq to Central America. Under Bill and Hillary Clinton, mass incarceration, police terror, and border militarization skyrocketed. Now leading Democrats like Chuck Schumer and others are collaborating with and normalizing the fascist Donald Trump.

Democrat mayors, governors, and other politicians are rushing to the side of the Florida students on “gun control.” Why? *

A sharp divide exists among the ruling forces of this society—and gun control has become part of this battle. It isn’t over whether to put an end to all the unjust violence the U.S. inflicts upon the world through its wars, or on Black and Brown people in this country through prisons and police, or any of the other horrors that are rooted in this system. This fight is over how best to respond at a time of great change—and the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the Democrats, both representing different sections of the ruling class of this system, have different worldviews and programs on this. (See “When it comes to driving out Trump/Pence FASCISM, the Democratic Party is part of the problem and NOT part of the solution”.)

Trump and the Republicans, and the NRA have, so far, adamantly opposed any gun control measures. It is not essentially because they are beholden to the “gun lobby.” It’s because they are fascists. An important element of that is keeping weapons directly in the hands of their white-supremacist, xenophobic social base—as a vicious video released by the NRA last year made clear.

American violence is fostered and celebrated by a culture awash in violence, misogyny, and an ethos of “me first and fuck everyone else.” How many TV shows and movies center on “righteous” bloodthirsty revenge? How many video games celebrate and score points for wanton violence? Heightened, accentuated, and openly advocated and violently reinforced—with a vengeance—by the fascist Trump/Pence regime, this system’s mouthpieces and representatives claim that the problem is just a few “sick” individuals?

An important reality has been pointed to by students and others again and again in the media: America is unique in the world for this kind of crazed, destructive mass shooting. Democratic mouthpieces chalk this vast difference in shootings up to a single factor: gun control laws. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface!

What is truly unique about America? It is #1 in dropping bombs—including nuclear bombs—on people around the world. It is #1 in genocide and slavery, in mass incarceration and torture. It is #1 in individualist, revenge-ist, me-first culture and fostering victimhood among the privileged. THIS is inseparable from the phenomenon of mass shooters.

It is impossible to understand the roots of mass shootings—or come close to getting beyond them—without connecting to this larger fabric that must be ripped apart and transformed.

Students: Raise Your Sights to the Whole World

DACA recipients, many of them your fellow students, are—for now—able to continue, and renew, their status, which provides temporary protection from deportation. But the Dreamers' lives and future are still hanging by a thread, facing the possibility that DACA could be ended without warning, making them immediately deportable. Eleven million immigrants are also being threatened with mass deportation, and many will see their families torn apart or even sent to their deaths if America carries out these threats.

What about the people and youth of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, who are right now being killed by the biggest of U.S. guns? Or the people and youth of North Korea and Iran, threatened by American nukes? Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you imagine their dreams? Are you standing up for and with them?

As you awaken to the horrors of this country and what it does, lift your sights to the emancipation of all of humanity. Otherwise none of these burning outrages will end, and in many ways you could end up being pitted against others whose lives are being wantonly destroyed by the same system that is responsible for the school shootings you’re rightly outraged about.

The real insanity is leaving in place this capitalist-imperialist system built on racism, genocide, and misogyny which doesn’t give a shit about youth in Parkland, Florida, or people anywhere else. It’s the same system that’s driving the world toward environmental calamity with global warming, and threatening it with nuclear holocaust. It’s going to take nothing less than an actual revolution to change that.

To those agonizing over the latest school shooting and those who abhor it—dig more deeply into the history of this country and the nature of this society. Rise up, resist, and revolt against all abuses and outrages going on, and against the system underlying them. Come to revcom.us and get into the most radical revolutionary vision, strategy, and plan for a whole new world, without the needless carnage and insanity that is an American hallmark.


* George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and others are pouring millions of dollars into supporting the coming marches promoting gun control and voting for the Democrats this fall. Yet they’re not pouring millions into stopping much graver, immediate threats: the attacks on DACA and immigrants, the threats of war, even nuclear war, against Iran and North Korea, the consolidation and normalization of the fascist Trump/Pence regime. In fact, they are feeding a dynamic where these monumental concerns that affect billions around the planet are pushed out of sight as they grind rapidly towards greater horror. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/revolution-books-black-panther-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

The Movie Black Panther—A Breath of Fresh Air... or Poison Gas?

REVOLUTION BOOKS, NYC "HOT TOPIC DISCUSSION"

March 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The deep response to Marvel's film Black Panther reveals the profound desire millions feel for a society and world where the subjugation of Black people is no more.

Can such a world be brought into being? Is dreaming of Wakanda a way to get there? Should we take up Killmonger's thirst for revenge? Or do we need something else entirely?

Join Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor for a discussion of Marvel's Black Panther, the oppression of Black people and the way out of today's madness.

Thursday, March 15
Revolution Books, NYC
437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave.
212-691-3345

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/emergency-program-revbooks-berkeley-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

Emergency Program at Revolution Books Berkeley

March 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/message-to-student-walkouts-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

Message to Student Walkouts: This nightmare must end! Rise up and change the world

March 14, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To all students and young people who are lifting your heads, disrupting your normal routines to call out a great horror and hold those in power accountable, we stand with you. It’s truly horrifying that we live in a society where mass shootings are routine occurrences, and it is righteous that we are demanding change. The world needs even more students standing upstanding up to the authorities, standing up to the politicians who pretend nothing’s wrong, standing up to those who offer “thoughts and prayers” and tell us to wait, to duck our heads and patiently go along with this…standing up and taking to the streets, walking out and refusing business as usual…for ourselves and for students across the country.

At the same time, it is critical that we broaden our scope and take even greater responsibility. The heart-wrenching truth is that we’re coming of age in a time of unparalleled danger. We’re now living under the fascist Trump/Pence regime. We don’t use the word “fascist” as an insult or exaggeration; we use it to describe the reality of what they’re imposing on this country and the world.

Vicious white supremacy…anti-Muslim bigotry…mass deportations and ICE raids…families torn apart, children watching in horror as their parents are torn away from them…attacks on women and LGBTQ people…accelerated destruction of our beautiful environment…And while we sit in our classrooms in fear that someone will open fire, millions of kids just like us in North & South Korea sit in terror, wondering if they’ll be incinerated by a U.S. nuclear bomb at any moment. Children in Yemen and Syria can’t even dream of going to school, as they are bombed and starved by U.S. coalitions, dying of malnutrition and cholera at extremely alarming rates. This is only the beginning of the devastation a fascist America will bring to this planet.

When those in power tried to write the Parkland massacre off as just another mass shooting, students answered NO. Students drew a line and made clear that we are not going to allow shootings to be “normal” anymore. Now we need to do the same thing in challenging the legitimacy of the Trump/Pence regime because we can’t and we won’t allow ourselves to become normalized to fascism.The future is a true nightmare if this regime is not stopped and ONLY the people, rising up in mass sustained nonviolent protest, can stop this nightmare by driving this regime from power. That is what RefuseFascism.org is all about, and we call on you:

Signed,
The Refuse Fascism Student Task Force
RefuseFascism.org

Email students@refusefascism.org to get involved!

#TRUMPPENCEMUSTGO

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/50-anniversary-my-lai-massacre-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

March 14, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

March 16 Marks 50th Anniversary of Intentional U.S. Army Massacre of Over 500 Vietnamese Civilians

Think “The U.S. is the ‘Good Guys’”?  Then Read This Page

 

"Free yourself from the GTF!"
Clip from Bob Avakian's talk: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

The film of Bob Avakian's new speech and several hours of Q&A that follow, address the most urgent question of the day: how to understand, and what to do about, the threat to humanity itself posed by the Trump/Pence regime.

This talk—from the most radical revolutionary on the planet—makes the case in a compelling way for massive, sustained nonviolent outpourings, involving diverse perspectives, continuing until the demand is met: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Avakian traces the roots of the regime—the deeper and more immediate causes of its rise to power. This hour-long speech and the Q&A's that follow are full of substance, and heart.

Watch the film, Q&A sessions, and trailer HERE.

 

 

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American Crime
Case #96:
Vietnam, March 16, 1968—The My Lai Massacre

THE CRIME: On Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, 100 soldiers from Charlie Company, U.S. Army Americal Division, entered and took over My Lai, a small hamlet in Vietnam’s countryside. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons... It was just like any other Vietnamese village—old papa-sans, women and kids,” a soldier said.

“The order we were given was to kill and destroy everything that was in the village,” another soldier later testified. “It was clearly explained that there were to be no prisoners.” An order was given to push all the Vietnamese who had been forced into the area into a ditch. “I began shooting them all. I guess I shot maybe 25 or 20 people in the ditch,” one G.I. later recounted, “men, women, and children. And babies.” A baby crawling away from the ditch was grabbed and thrown back into the ditch and shot.

“Over four hours, members of Charlie Company methodically slaughtered more than five hundred unarmed victims, killing some in ones and twos, others in small groups, and collecting many more in a drainage ditch that would become an infamous killing ground,” Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, writes. “They faced no opposition. They even took a quiet break to eat lunch in the midst of the carnage. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area’s drinking water.”

Read entire article

 

My Lai massacre
My Lai massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Vietnamese women and children in Mỹ Lai before being killed in the massacre, 16 March 1968. According to court testimony, they were killed seconds after the photo was taken. The woman on the right is adjusting her blouse buttons following a sexual assault that happened before the massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Excerpt from 
SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION,

On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian

An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

Look, also, at the so-called problem of immigration. Why do we even have different countries? Think about it. Why do we have flags and national anthems, and why do we have borders? Why do we have whole populations of people that are pushed around and kept from having a decent life, when all they want to do is work and be productive members of society? Think of all the immigrants to this country who get pushed around, get brutalized, whose families are brutally torn apart, and who get incarcerated, forcibly deported or even gunned down on the border. Do you find that acceptable? I sure don’t! What makes Americans better than anybody else, by the way? Personally, I can’t stand the American flag, or the national anthem, or the Pledge of Allegiance, or any of these kinds of symbols that proclaim that one country or one population of one part of the world is somehow better than everybody else. That’s what’s called “jingoism,” or “national chauvinism”—that way of thinking is downright nasty and we should call it what it is and refuse to go along with it! We should all be thinking more like citizens of the world and not like Americans. But then you see people stand up in schools and at sporting events—they’re standing up for the flag and the anthem, and they’re putting their hands over their hearts and maybe even singing along, and often this is being done by people who are themselves being oppressed and degraded on a daily basis by the very system that they are saluting!

It’s time to put an end to this kind of stuff. Think about what you’re doing, what you’re saluting! People need to think more about this, and educate themselves about the true nature of this system. These police murders, for instance: they’re not an accident. They’ve been happening for a long time. They happen on a horrific scale. And they keep on happening, because the root of this problem can be found in the very foundations of this system.

 

Read full excerpt "A Scientific Assessment: The World Today Is a Horror for the Majority of Humanity—And That Can Be Radically Changed" here.

Read SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION here (PDF).

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/the-new-communism-could-change-everything--if-en.html

Revolution #534 March 12, 2018

THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF...

March 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from a document written by a leading comrade of the Revolutionary Communist Party and circulated among Party members and supporters. Footnotes have been added here.

 

Let’s speak frankly now. Let’s be willing to honestly confront and be blunt and grapple with the problems of the revolution, including with people outside our own Party. Let’s start by stating some simple basics about the current reality:

We revolutionary communists are supposed to represent and speak in the name of the interests of all of humanity. And we are supposed to do so on the basis of science and nothing less. On that basis, we can in fact have a great deal of certitude in stating that what humanity needs, more than anything else, is a communist world, achieved through a process of revolutions (of the right kind) to establish socialist societies (of the right kind) as a transition and road, and a base for advance, to that communist world. So it’s not just communism we are fighting for, it’s the right kind of communism, the NEW COMMUNISM.

The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA) really is a total game-changer, which objectively represents and constitutes the opening of a whole new chapter in the historical evolution of communist theory and practice. IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. But this will happen only IF the New Communism of BA becomes widely known, takes root, and spreads ever more broadly, in a kind of geometric progression, throughout this society and also throughout the entire world.

But right now the objective situation is such that hardly anyone has even heard of the New Communism, hardly anyone is even searching for that kind of solution to the world’s problems, and the so-called educated or “progressive” and “enlightened” people here and around the world remain primarily mired in moribund and paralyzing retrograde frameworks of the past (standard bourgeois democracy, social democracy,1 variations on Ajithism,2 etc.) and by and large are stubbornly (and sometimes snarkily, with significant vitriol) refusing to explore and engage anything that might be radically new and inspiring but which might actually require them to question and break out of the relative stability and comfort they can still typically benefit from (especially in the U.S.) thanks to their objective acceptance, accommodation and ultimately complicity with the dominant and ruling exploitative and oppressive frameworks, in all their vile and brutally violent incarnations (including their increasingly fascist directions) here and throughout the world.

So the external objective/subjective conditions we are dealing with are difficult to say the least. And, relatedly, the revisionism that has plagued the ranks of communists everywhere in recent decades, including in our own Party,3 has posed especially significant obstacles to waging the necessary struggles to break through any of this. So overall this is a very challenging time.

But one thing is crystal clear: There is nothing that would be more important to accomplish in this period of history than to succeed in breaking through some of these obstacles and getting the New Communism, as well as its architect, BA (the person who has elaborated and developed this new synthesis of communism, and who himself stands as a concentrated expression of its core principles and scientific methods), widely known, engaged and appreciated throughout this society (and among all strata), and beyond that throughout the world. And it must also be said that, conversely, if we don’t succeed in doing THAT—if we don’t succeed in making qualitative and quantitative breakthroughs in fulfilling THAT mission—then not much at all will come out of anything any of us have done over the past decades, or continue to do today. All that hard work, and all that dedication, and all that sacrifice? It will all amount to a big fat zero if we do not succeed in broadly spreading the New Communism, getting it to take root and initiating a process of sustainable geometric progression.

If we don’t succeed in this, there really is no point to any of the other things we do. If we don’t succeed in this, then even important things like: the website (and associated social media) outreach and leadership; particular “Fight the Power...” conjunctural initiatives around any and all of the 5 Stops4 (including genocidal police brutality and murder); particular emergency-worthy and strategic “nodal point” initiatives (such as Refuse Fascism); particular attention paid to international developments (and to revolutionary-minded forces in other countries) and to struggling against the stranglehold of jingoism and national chauvinism among the people in this country; particular attention paid to realizing the two maximizings (developing work among both the most oppressed social base and educated youth in particular); particular attention to vigorous recruitment and the developing of a newly revitalized Leninist party on the basis of the New Communism (and not something else or lesser than that...), none of our dedicated work in any of these spheres will ultimately amount to anything more than perhaps a minor footnote in history, unless...

Unless we do manage to fulfill our core mission and accomplish what we should all recognize as being our single most crucial and critical strategic goal, and daily preoccupation: which, again, would mean breaking through the assorted obstacles to get BA and the New Communism he has brought forward WIDELY known, engaged and appreciated throughout society. 

Managing to do that should be understood to be our foremost, most singular and critical, strategic mission and objective (for all of humanity and its future, if it is to have any kind of future worth having). 

In line with all this, let’s once again take a hard look at BA’s previous interventions of recent years—what he himself accomplished, vs. what did or did not come out of it in terms of the #1 objective.

Much of this is familiar to all of us, of course. To be blunt once again: they have ALL been, to a very large extent, criminally squandered.

But first, to speak to the positives: Simply put, in addition to the many invaluable published works and audio and video compilations, we have in recent years been treated to an unbelievable series of public and semi-public direct interventions by BA in person. These have consistently been incredible, world-class-level presentations of new communist theory, propaganda and agitation, all put forward with great depth, and substance, and heart, and all done in such a way as to serve as a living laboratory of scientific methods applied to the problems of human society. All done in a manner that is widely accessible to a wide variety of audiences, and which concentrates many different levels of precious lessons for everyone, ranging from brand new people, of different backgrounds and strata, to the most experienced communist “veterans,” including top leadership of our own Party, including, of course, ourselves.

Isn’t everything I just said here true? Just think of direct interventions like the 7 Talks,5 or the talks that gave rise to the 2003 Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About film; or the talks that gave rise to the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! film; or the series of internal leadership seminars a few years ago which drilled home the importance of scientific methods and the need to break with the mass line,6 reification,7 populist epistemology,8 etc. carried over from earlier stages of communism; or the thrilling (and contended) public Dialogue at Riverside Church with Cornel West, and the film that came out of that; or the series of internal seminars which ultimately fed into the process of BA’s writing the seminal book THE NEW COMMUNISM; or the most recent semi-public (and only one-hour long!) 2017 talk which 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&A, with all its intangibles, substance, remarkable scientific ease and liveliness on full display “off the cuff”–Wow yet again!

So all that is great and inspiring, but here’s the rub: ALL these more or less “direct” interventions by BA have been remarkable and world-class in terms of both form and content. ALL of them have been schools of method, for everyone. ALL of them are objectively priceless in and of themselves, and I am quite sure that they will ultimately “bear fruit” in a way commensurate with their quality—at least I expect this to happen over the longer term, if somehow humanity manages not to drive itself to literal extinction in the near future. I certainly am confident, on a scientific basis, that any decent future for humanity would necessarily have to be carved out by “going through” the new synthesis of communism brought forward by BA.

Because of all that I have said here (about the longer-term future in relation to the entirety of BA’s body of work, including all these interventions), it would be totally and obscenely wrong to conclude these interventions have been wasted efforts because they were, ultimately, squandered in the aftermath. But at least in the shorter term, to put it quite crudely, “what has come out of these interventions?”

BA did his part(s), but what have the rest of us succeeded in doing in the aftermath of these BA interventions that we could point to and honestly say: “This has really helped to spread the New Communism much more broadly and widely; you can see that, thanks to this intervention, lots more people now know about BA, and what he has brought forward; that lots more people are now discussing, debating, contesting, engaging the New Communism; that this is all giving rise to a certain kind of geometric progression as all this is really beginning to take hold and is spreading farther and farther day by day, reaching a great many people we could not possibly encounter directly. Very significantly, there are now clear indications of the emergence of significant new cohorts of genuine and motivated actual followers of BA and of the New Communism–significant not simply in importance, but in actual numbers, and expanding societal influence, as well—all of which bodes well for the possibility of the New Communism spreading and taking root to an unprecedented degree in the next period.”

Unfortunately none of this has happened.

Again, BA has done his part, in every single instance. But the “toxic combination” of recent years, characterized by the predominance of anti-scientific revisionism in both our own Party and the international movements, combined with the frustrating degree to which masses of all the different strata have NOT been correctly identifying the source of “the problem” confronting society and all of humanity, or have not been in any serious way looking for this kind of “solution” (for all the reasons we have previously discussed and which I won’t belabor here)—this “toxic combination” has resulted in a situation where it is today incredibly difficult and dislocating for even the best of the current communist leadership to create the necessary conditions for these BA interventions to take place on an even remotely correct basis (appropriate audiences, appropriate security, etc.) and, even beyond that, in every instance, there also does not seem to have been a sufficient material basis and/or sufficiently grounded ideological orientation to enable even the best of current leadership to “come out the other end” of these BA interventions in such a way that seeds of New Communism could really be broadly planted and then harvested on any kind of significant scale

So, we have to confront this reality, and yet figure out ways to not let it defeat us. Acknowledge the reality that all that incredible effort gets put into things but, in this period at least, not a whole lot actually “comes out of it all” in terms of really making significant progress in meeting that #1 strategic objective. Again, it will all likely bear fruit in a more commensurate way somewhere down the line, but at least in this period, in a period where the fragile flickering light of the New Communism could still so easily be extinguished, I don’t think we have succeeded in creating anything like the necessary material basis within which these remarkable direct interventions could actually be properly harvested, with the goal of unleashing that process of “geometric progression” of spread and societal influence we so desperately need to effect.

One of my recurring frustrations is also that every one of these interventions has produced incredibly valuable materials (books, films, etc.) which themselves provide so much of what we need to “spread” BA and the New Communism broadly throughout society, but we are always so busy doing other things that we barely make use of these most valuable tools for harvesting and spreading.

But of course this does not mean that the current situation (the repeated squandering) is acceptable, or could never ever be transformed (!), or that, no matter what we decide in the particular, we should not do all that is in our power to figure out how to spread the New Communism far and wide and work to have it take root. This does need to happen! It does need to be our #1 strategic objective.

For one thing, we need to revive the whole orientation around barefoot doctors9 and Huxleys.10 We need everyone, from leading people to Party members and supporters broadly, to serve minimally, or at least in some capacity, as barefoot doctors. Can you call yourself a communist if you’re not in some fashion doing at least that? To engage in at least the simplest tasks that can help spread the New Communism and BA (including by distributing BA literature and showing BA films as well as advertising the existence of the website, etc.). The original barefoot doctors in China during Mao’s time (largely peasant masses who were given basic medical knowledge and training) may not have had the basis to provide advanced medical theory or conduct complex medical interventions (they did not and would not have been allowed to try to do so, as this could have done more harm than good) but they provided an invaluable service by tirelessly going out far and wide, by trying to reach as many people as possible, by doing so repeatedly and consistently, and by bringing very basic medicines and treatment and basic medical education (the equivalent of spreading literature and films) to all sorts of places and people who had never had access to even such basics. An invaluable service. So is there anyone who really cannot or should not serve minimally as a barefoot doctor in relation to BA and the New Communism?

In conjunction with that we need Huxleys to actually be, and function as, HUXLEYS(!!). To do so correctly, consistently, and with the understanding that this is their PRIMARY mission, not just something they do alongside everything else they do. I don’t care how many direct interventions BA does, or of what quality, or with what conjunctural timeliness—if we don’t have a crew of ardent and motivated Huxleys, who see themselves first and foremost as followers of BA, and who consistently see their primary mission as what I referred to as our #1 strategic mission overall, and then act in accordance with that in everything they do, including by actually acting in society primarily as Huxleys, then we will never have the material basis to not squander BA’s works and interventions, and we will never develop fresh new cohorts of motivated followers of BA and the New Communism. We might recruit one or two fresh faces here or there, but we will never be able to regroup, re-ascend and revitalize an actual Leninist party that actually corresponds to and can implement the core objectives and methods of the New Communism.

At the same time, I know one thing: If this fascism of the Trump/Pence regime gets consolidated and this really becomes the widely accepted “normal” of this society, not only will this have disastrous consequences overall, but more specifically, we, as communists, are going to have an even much harder time getting anywhere, including with the spread and promotion of the New Communism and the works of BA and the development of open and motivated active followers of BA dedicated to getting all this to take root and spread even more. So the mission of Refuse Fascism, and whether it spreads and gains traction and committed adherents and stays on the right track, and so on, really is not “just another good initiative or good thing to be doing.” And in relation to our strategic communist objectives, the failure of what is represented by Refuse Fascism might well end up putting the final nail in our coffin.

Something like the recent 2017 talk by BA, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible—which speaks powerfully to the immediate, urgent importance of bringing forward masses of people in nonviolent but sustained political mobilization to drive out this fascist regime, and the crucial relation between that and our fundamental revolutionary objectives—really needs not to be squandered! This film needs to be used (a lot!!) and there needs to be an active approach on our part to have all its positives made full use of and broadly projected and injected into everything, etc. I get frustrated that still not enough of this is going on (and that the film still seems to get sort of “tacked on” to other things). With that particular intervention and film, if we don’t keep putting enough leading attention into it even now, in the aftermath, then we will suffer the consequences (yet again) of unconscionable squandering (including in failing to fulfill both some important aspects of our #1 objective to promote and project BA and the New Communism, and also failing to take full advantage of this talk’s ability to positively influence the development of the necessary anti-fascist trajectory). All this would be bad enough, and we really should try very hard to make full use of everything that could be accomplished through broad promotion and dissemination of that talk—I think we have barely scratched the surface!

I will end here by simply restating the obvious:

BA himself really does actually concentrate the best of what is the New Communism, and his various works and interventions are themselves the best possible “advertisement” for this new synthesis of communism—there are no better tools for the spread and popularization of the New Communism than BA’s various works and interventions “in their own right,” free of any intermediary distortions or re-castings or reinterpretations.

But—and this is a critical but—regardless of what BA himself is or is not able to personally undertake, everything that is represented by the New Communism—which really does have the potential to “change everything!” in the interests of all of humanity—will never spread broadly enough and will never take root deeply enough unless there develop legions of motivated, inspired followers—genuine, motivated and inspired followers—of the New Communism, and of BA himself as a concentration of all that. So, one way or another, bringing that into being really has to be our primary preoccupation and objective, increasingly in its own right, as well as within everything we do.

 

 


FOOTNOTES

1. Social democracy refers to a political trend that envisions a form of “socialism”—actually, some variant of state ownership of some industries and extensive welfare measures—that would come to power through bourgeois elections. It denies the need to meet and defeat the violent repressive power of the bourgeois state through massive all-out struggle for power involving millions and millions, and opposes revolutionary trends that recognize this necessity. This began as a serious trend in Europe, where the usually unspoken basis for it was the spoils from the continued plunder of colonies and neo-colonies. Today it is a significant force in Latin America (Lula in Brazil, Bachelet in Chile, etc.), as well as elsewhere, and takes shape in the U.S. in groups like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and others. [back

2. Ajithism refers to the trend concentrated in the pamphlet “Against Avakianism,” written in July 2013 by Ajith. This trend is analyzed and extensively criticized in the article “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” published in the online journal Demarcations. This polemic with Ajith is a critical work that goes into and demarcates the new synthesis from what has gone before on a range of questions, focused on Bob Avakian’s breakthrough in epistemology. The authors make the point that “To the extent that there were errors in the communist movement, including in the thinking of its greatest leaders, this should neither make communists shrink in horror nor adopt an ostrich-like defense of secondary weaknesses. But what were mistakes in one historical context, when championed, canonized and developed as Ajith does, become transformed into a qualitatively different project for society.” “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” page 80. [back]

3. Revisionism refers to schools of thought and political trends that claim to be communist, or Marxist, but revise the revolutionary heart out of communism. The character of revisionism today has been gone into in many works—most especially Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, RCP Publications, 2008 and THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2016. Essentially, revisionism draws on some variant of bourgeois democracy, or a fixation on certain incorrect and wrong lines in the first stage of the communist revolution (the period from the writing of the Communist Manifesto in 1848 to the overthrow of socialism in China in 1976), or both to oppose the further advance of communism, as crystallized in Bob Avakian’s new synthesis. Both these works go deeply into the Cultural Revolution within the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—the content of the lines that have contended with the new communism, the course of the struggle, and its crucial character in determining whether or not there will be an actual vanguard, a revolutionary... communist... party in this country. [back]

4. STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!
STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!
STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!
STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!
STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet! [back]

5. 7 Talks. These talks were given by Bob Avakian in 2006 and covered a wide range of topics. Some of the material in these talks were drawn on for other works, including Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2008 and Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2008. These talks include: “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today... And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution”; “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy”; “Communism: A Whole New World and the Emancipation of All Humanity—Not ‘The Last Shall Be First, And the First Shall Be Last’”; “The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters”; “Communism and Religion: Getting Up and Getting Free—Making Revolution to Change the Real World, Not Relying on ‘Things Unseen’”; “Conservatism, Christian Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Paternalism ... Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton ... Not All ‘Right’ but All Wrong!”; “‘Balance’ Is the Wrong Criterion—and a Cover for a Witch-hunt—What We Need Is the Search for the Truth: Education, Real Academic Freedom, Critical Thinking and Dissent.” [back]

6. Mass line was a method developed by Mao that set the heart of the communist method as taking the scattered and unsystematic ideas of the masses, concentrating what is correct in them, and returning what is correct to them in the form of policies that they can take up and act on. Bob Avakian analyzed the problems with this principle in his 2014 talks [“The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution” and “The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method”]. Such a method relegates communists to essentially holding a mirror up to and confining themselves within the limits of whatever the sentiments of the masses are at any given time, as opposed to scientifically analyzing what must be done at any juncture and then struggling and working with masses to take this up. The “mass line,” however, became enshrined for decades as a more or less unchallenged principle prior to BA’s forging of the new communism; and, in fact, “mass line” was a method, as BA points out, that Mao himself did not follow at certain critical junctures in the revolution. [back]

7. Reification refers to the view, predominant in the communist movement before the new synthesis, that proletarians by virtue of their class position, have a special purchase on the truth; in particular, that they have within them the means to grasp the historic role of the proletariat as a class and will “instinctively” gravitate toward that view. This confounds the position of the proletariat in society as a class and the consciousness of individual proletarians. In fact, an understanding of the historic role of the proletariat in relation to ending all forms of exploitation and oppression came out of scientific study of the whole course of social development, and analysis of the underlying and generally hidden dynamics behind that development. Anyone who wishes to understand and play a role in leading the communist revolution has to study it as a science, whatever their class background (and people of all backgrounds can and do take this up). At the same time, everyone in society, no matter their class origin, is both influenced by the pulls of living life in a capitalist system and subject to being trained in, and spontaneously taking up, all sorts of unscientific and, indeed, antiscientific methods. For more on reification, see “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past.” [back]

8. Populist epistemology refers to the notion that what people think ultimately determines reality, or at least that communists should “factor in” what the majority of people think in arriving at the truth. Truth, however—including the truth about objective reality and whether particular analyses or policies correctly reflect that reality and the path forward toward transforming it in a revolutionary direction—is independent of what anybody thinks. Darwin’s theory of evolution would be true whether anybody thought it was or not; as are certain fundamental truths about society and what kinds of transformations are necessary to change it, as well as more immediate things that can be determined to be true or not. This notion has done and continues to do tremendous damage, leading communists to opportunistically tail behind and fail to challenge backward sentiments and beliefs and outright wrong and even reactionary paths among masses of people. The correct understanding is captured in BAsics 4:11: “What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think.” BAsics: from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011. For more on this, see “The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution” 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, Insight Press, 2015. [back]

9. “Barefoot doctors” were peasants in China who, during the period when China was revolutionary and in particular during the Cultural Revolution, were given very basic training in medical science and sent among the masses to minister to basic health needs. While they were not fully trained in medicine, they could still do good by spreading certain basic scientific understanding about the human body and health. By analogy, barefoot doctors are those who may not have the most developed understanding of the science of communism but who want to help spread it as they are learning more, and while they may not be able to contend with other outlooks and modes of thought, can still do a great deal of good. [back]

10. Thomas Henry Huxley was a champion for Darwin’s theory of evolution. While Darwin for various reasons did not focus on debating the truth of the theory in public venues, Huxley played the role of going everywhere to fight for Darwin’s breakthrough. He was known as “Darwin’s bulldog.” By analogy, people who do gain a more developed understanding of the new communism should be out taking on all proponents of contending viewpoints and modes of thought. [back]