Revolution #536, March 26, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

Revolution #536 March 26, 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/the-new-communism-could-change-everything--if-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 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]

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

With a “war cabinet” being assembled and “Trump unchained”...
BOB AVAKIAN’S SPEECH ON THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump’s shakeup of his cabinet and top advisers this past week—which is nothing but the further consolidation and sharpening of his fascist thrust in an even more directly threatening way—has both ratcheted up and served to underscore the grave danger humanity faces. At the same time there is a widespread agony and turmoil about the direction and future of society.

What is the danger posed by this regime? How serious is it, for real? Where does it come from? What are its roots, its causes, its underlying dynamics? And what is—and is not—the path to stopping it? These are the questions that Bob Avakian (BA) concisely, compellingly, and courageously confronts in his filmed speech from this fall. In a time of darkness closing in, this speech shines a light; in a time of illusions being fanned and clung to, this speech tells the truth; and in a time when people are also, so importantly, beginning to lift their heads, BA points a clear direction. It’s past time to stop wondering about “other people” and what they will or will not do—people who may have turned their heads a week ago can be won to listen tomorrow.

The world that people knew and accustomed themselves to—for better or worse—is going out of existence. What is coming is uglier by an order of magnitude. What is coming maniacally risks the very future of humanity. But there is a real analysis, a real solution, and a real path to a future worth living―all indicated here. The clock is ticking but it is NOT too late. Take this speech, watch it again, by yourself and with others, and get it out. Thousands and tens of thousands getting this message will make all the difference.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/515/what-people-are-saying-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

What People Are Saying About This Film

Updated June 24, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Click to watch the film

 

The following is taken from a document written by a leading comrade of the Revolutionary Communist Party. To read more click HERE.

On BA's Talk on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime: "Wow!"

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

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A New York City graphic designer

“Unbelievable is a word I often use for the programs, initiatives, and assaults that come out of this administration. Of course, nothing is unbelievable now. I have watched/listened to the Bob Avakian video. He is impressive in a number of ways. He's very knowledgeable and seems sincere. Although not surprising, the historical overview of the U.S. patriotic mindset and the description of the rise of fascism he sets forth is alarming. It's also accusatory, as it should be. I recognize myself to a shameful extent in the description of the non-ruling liberal class.”

Libya Pugh, Educator and Artist

“I've seen the Avakian film on fascism and the Trump/Pence regime, and it is a very valuable video for the world to see. As an educator I think It is especially important for teachers and students to see this film, because it focuses on history and the people’s struggle by showing us how fascism has affected our societies.”

Reverend Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, Los Angeles, California

“People must be exposed to this film. It is not an option. Here is one who is prophetic, speaking to those who are pathetic. Now is the 21st century. We can no longer afford to be pathetic....”

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“People must be exposed to this film. It is not an option. Here is one who is prophetic, speaking to those who are pathetic. Now is the 21st century. We can no longer afford to be pathetic. We may have to labor at being prophetic, that is the only way we can transcend self-destruction. No longer can we toy with weapons, now we have discovered the ultimate weapon that which ended World War 2, and which can start the end of the world, period. No longer is it just Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacked, now the whole world can be attacked so that when North Korea ‘threatens’ the most powerful nation, the leader of that nation who is called up to lead us, but we are being led by his pathetic response of ‘if you attack us, we will blow you off the planet.’ The essence of Bob Avakian’s film https://vimeo.com/238240664 THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible was a description and challenge on the need for a prescription of where we need to go from here. Any intelligence would have to agree with him because he described the world situation, what we will be involved in if we don’t fix it now.”

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Jean Krasno, Lecturer in the Department of Political Science; Director, Multilateralism and International Organization Initiative at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at City College of New York; Distinguished Fellow at the Center for International Security Studies at Yale University

“Whether you agree with everything Bob Avakian professes or not, the power of his words will shake you into a profound reexamination of your core beliefs....”

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“Bob Avakian: a powerful message
‘Refuse to Accept a Fascist America’”

“Bob Avakian’s film profoundly challenges us to open our eyes and examine the underbelly of what we think of as ‘American Exceptionalism.’ As Americans, we want to see America as the bastion of democracy where equality, the rule of law, and justice for all permeates our lives. But Avakian forces us, with the power of his words, to rip away this false blanket that hides the truth and asks us to remember our exploitive and violent history, our long story of repression expressed through slavery and the genocidal treatment of America’s indigenous peoples. We may defend America by saying we have evolved; we have grown away from our past and have embraced justice and tolerance. Avakian’s words slap us out of this complacency. The ugly face of white supremacy is darkly slouching across our land, cultivated by the current administration’s obsession with hatred for all those who may look or speak differently. We are precipitously growing close to the brink of Fascism.

“Whether you agree with everything Bob Avakian professes or not, the power of his words will shake you into a profound reexamination of your core beliefs. America First and American Exceptionalism are devolving into America Isolated and America Alone, a frightening image in a world where no country acting alone can solve the global challenges we face. We are losing the trust and confidence of our allies and friends. And every act, negative or positive, reverberates in even the farthest corners of the world causing repercussions we cannot imagine. Fascism here begets Fascism elsewhere. Bob Avakian asks us all to take action and rescue America back from the brink and end this march toward Fascism.”

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Cornel West

“The spirit of resistance and commitment to revolution are always so inspiring in Brother Avakian!”

Dr. David I. Orenstein, Professor of Anthropology, Medgar Evers College/CUNY

“Do not sleep through this revolution! Avakian’s speech, when focusing on the Trump administration’s anti-humanistic actions and policies, demands that we remain awake. It demands that we take action to stop Trump’s allies, enablers, racists and evangelical apologists from making good on their dystopian ‘Making America Great Again’ slogan. It demands that civil society act against the attacks on modernity; the poor; those in the LGBTQ community, on scientific truth, on the rule of law; on press freedom; on healthcare and on refugees and immigrants. Watch this film. Get angry! Use this anger and channel it into resistance. And most of all VOTE for change.”

Claudia, a classical musician

“The film presented a strong affirmation of what I already was processing, that the regime is a malicious regime with an insidious agenda—and if it unfolds will just be catastrophic, in global proportions. Fascism never supports the masses... always a select few. This should be addressed immediately....”

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“The film presented a strong affirmation of what I already was processing, that the regime is a malicious regime with an insidious agenda—and if it unfolds will just be catastrophic, in global proportions. Fascism never supports the masses... always a select few. This should be addressed immediately.

“Thank you for presenting this to me. The speech is well-loaded with a plethora of information which needs to be distributed among as many people as possible... millions! But really, the driving point—and I have to go back to exactly what he was saying—was that this is a fascist regime. I felt, ‘Aha! Instruct me, I’m getting it.’

“He was so crystal-clear. He didn't sugar-coat. He didn’t say, ‘Oh well, if this doesn’t happen then maybe the next presidential election...’ Like trying to sweep it under the rug, like ‘this too shall pass.’ No, this needs to be addressed! And that’s what really lured me in, and now I’m hooked.”

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A second year masters of social work student

"I highly recommend the work. In discussing these issues through the film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! as many people have become so complacent and so isolated but also not aware of what's happening in the world right now and how crucial of a point of period in history that this is and what we can actually do to mobilize to have these discussions to tackle these themes and ultimately to dismantle these systems of oppression that for so many years have controlled our lives and have impacted every facet of our lives and now it's time to mobilize and to work towards bringing humanity together to figure out and to tackle systems of oppression that have been impacting us."

Donna Schaper, Senior Minister Judson Memorial Church, New York City

"Bob Avakian must be hoarse so long and well has he argued for basic human rights in the United States. His latest video summarizes the severity of the Trump/Pence crisis with vigor and a necessary outrage."

David Gunn Jr., son of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion doctor to be assassinated by antiabortion extremists

“In posing the question, ‘Which is more important: order or justice?’ Bob Avakian addresses a key impediment to an overwhelming outpouring of nonviolent resistance to the Trump/Pence regime... There is no better time for non-violent resistance than now. Through the application of justice, it is time to forge a new order: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!...”

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"In posing the question, ‘Which is more important: order or justice?’ Bob Avakian addresses a key impediment to an overwhelming outpouring of nonviolent resistance to the Trump/Pence regime. Namely, do we quietly acquiesce to this administration’s offence upon offence against our republic specifically, and humanity generally, due to a need for the opioid-like calm of order; or, do we insist upon an application of justice that holds the administration accountable for its tyrannical, inhuman, and felonious conduct, but disrupts and upsets that same precious order people nurture and desire? Obviously, Avakian encourages us toward the latter, to be courageous, and take action now before everyone, even those who remain dedicated to the current order, is impacted by the true horrors of this administration. There is no better time for non-violent resistance than now. Through the application of justice, it is time to forge a new order: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

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Peter Switzer, Photographer

"To act in the interest of humanity, we truly need to break from this American chauvinism and instead listen to, and act according to science, not in spite of it.... This is a must watch, more than once, there is so much here to absorb, it deserves to be studied."

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"The first time I watched this talk it opened my eyes to the many serious contradictions in our society and how they routinely become normalized and are soon just after-thoughts, if thought of at all.

"To act in the interest of humanity, we truly need to break from this American chauvinism and instead listen to, and act according to science, not in spite of it.

"Avakian clearly shows why we can no longer count on a political candidate, the Democrats, or the hope that we will somehow resolve the urgent and immediate life changing issues facing us all, including the rise of American Fascism, within our present system.

"This is a must watch, more than once, there is so much here to absorb, it deserves to be studied.

"'In the name of humanity, the Trump/Pence regime must go!'"

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Gloria Pinex, member of Revolution Club, Chicago, whose son was murdered by Chicago police

"Hi. I’m Gloria Pinex and I’m a member of the Revolution Club. I’ve been a member of the Revolution Club for seven years. I immediately became a member after listening to Bob Avakian and how he gets down speaking the truth."

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"Hi. I’m Gloria Pinex and I’m a member of the Revolution Club. I’ve been a member of the Revolution Club for seven years. I immediately became a member after listening to Bob Avakian and how he gets down speaking the truth.

"Now, about this film. I listened to the film and he’s actually teaching you, step by step on what the regime, the fascist regime is about and what we are actually living. So I urge everyone to listen to the movie, come and watch the movie. Don’t take my word for it. The man is on point with everything he says. So, come watch the movie with us. I guarantee that you’ll like it and you will learn something from it. That’s it."

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Rafael Angulo, Clinical Professor, School of Social Work, University of Southern California

“Bob Avakian is speaking against apathy and for the need for courage... and for hundreds of thousands and millions to be out on the front lines. I’m glad to see an atheist quoting a religious pastor, Martin Niemöller—who spoke out against Nazi Germany and on behalf of the Jews and those in the resistance. Too often communists and those religious haven’t united in a potential partnership with the same end-point, and it gives me a sense of hope to hear and see Bob Avakian seek that partnership. The Trump presidency calls into question the deepest meaning of our religious claims and values and we have a greater impact when we work in partnership rather than live in silos. All people of good will, unite!”

David Zeiger, director of Sir, No Sir!

“If you hate and fear what is happening in this country today, you owe it to yourself to watch Bob Avakian’s speech. Set aside your assumptions and, dare I say, prejudices, and listen with an open mind. There is too much at stake.”

Pastor Doris Johnson

“I had a group in in my church tonight because I know this is very important... [W]e are really up against something bad with this Trump/Pence regime... [T]his film that we saw tonight... so many people that commented, we learned from each other. So whoever sees this, I appreciate if you would try to have this in your church and your organization, to show this film. Very educational, and very enlightened... things that I didn't even know...”...

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“I'm Pastor Doris Johnson, and this Trump/Pence regime must go. I had a group in in my church tonight because I know this is very important. So many people do not know about what is going on in the world. And I am a people person, and I like to get out and let people know what we are up against. And we are really up against something bad with this Trump/Pence regime. And I just want everyone to know that this film that we saw tonight, it's so many so people that commented, we learned from each other. So whoever see this, I appreciate if you would try to have this in your church and your organization, to show this film. Very educational, and very enlightened, things that I didn't even know. So I'm asking you to please show this film in your church.”

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From Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

“Too often, we decide to vote for Democrats because they are the lesser of two evils. But, of course, I am left to wonder when we will finally get to vote for people who are not evil—people whose policies and politics we can wholeheartedly endorse. In this sense, Avakian’s advice that we should not vote for the lesser of two evils because it is evil cuts very close to home.”...

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Thoughts Provoked After Watching Bob Avakian Answer the Question:

“Unfortunately, as a Democrat it has long been determined that you vote for the lesser of two evils, right? Either the Dems or the Republicans. But it has gotten to the point where both of them are just as worse—one is cancer and one is HIV. So you don’t want to vote for either one of them... I know the system sucks, but what are you supposed to do in the interim?” (Part 3 of Q&A session)

* * *

I never previously thought about Avakian’s corollary, but I think it’s correct. Trump’s volunteer may have gotten fired for saying that if you’re not succeeding then you’re not doing things right... that you’re not working hard enough. But that’s just the opposite side of the coin from President Obama saying that if you work hard in America and do all the right things then you will be successful. They both say essentially the same thing. It’s just that one says it positively while the other says it negatively... one is spoken with hope while the other is spoken without hope.

* * *

I’ve gone through a process of disillusionment with the Democratic Party. I’ve been a Democrat since I first registered to vote at the age of 18. Still, I’ve become more and more troubled by Democratic politicians pursuing policies that I personally find abhorrent. Obama did not end rendition as he promised when he was elected. His administration maintained the CIA black sites; they continued to torture. Police killings didn’t stop during the Obama years. In fact, they almost seemed to become more frequent and more blatant. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was pushed by the Democrats and the Obama administration, would undoubtedly have meant increased exploitation for workers like the tin miners in Indonesia. And then, there was Obama’s reputation as the deporter-in -chief. Things have gotten worse under Trump, but the truth is that the Obama administration deported more migrants and refugees than any previous administration.

Even before Obama, the Clinton administration pushed what was described as welfare “reform,” which has caused a great deal of harm to poor and mostly ethnic communities. Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act has proven to be one of the leading underlying causes for today’s crisis of mass incarceration. Even before this, we have what I would call the “Kennedy Synthesis”—in which America made the conscious political decision to embrace the role of policeman for the world—this in spite of Eisenhower’s dire warnings about the emergence of the military-industrial complex.

Too often, we decide to vote for Democrats because they are the lesser of two evils. But, of course, I am left to wonder when we will finally get to vote for people who are not evil—people whose policies and politics we can wholeheartedly endorse. In this sense, Avakian’s advice that we should not vote for the lesser of two evils because it is evil cuts very close to home.

* * *

On the issue of gun control, I think a little differently than some of my colleagues. I understand and agree with the movement to control access to guns... to require real background checks... to ban certain kinds of guns and ammunition. But, I am also deeply troubled by the fact that this society is producing people—especially young men—who are even capable of becoming mass murderers. How did we become a society that glorifies violence in such a way that shootings in schools, theaters, malls, places of worship, and... even become thinkable. Media like NPR tell us that the problem is mental illness, but mental illness is not the issue. The problem is that our society is sick. Our system is sick. The NRA loves to tell us that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” And, they are partly right. It takes a person to pull the trigger. But that doesn’t let gun manufacturers and gun lobbyists off the hook. They feed off of and they feed into the sickness of a society that places its trust in violence rather than community. They are a major part of our society’s deep moral sickness.

* * *

The Democratic Party is deeply rooted in what I would call the sin of white supremacy. It was founded by slave owners like Thomas Jefferson. It was shaped by racists like Andrew Jackson who advocated policies and implemented acts of genocide against Native Americans. During the years following the Civil War and up to the middle of the twentieth century, Democrats were the most outspoken and powerful advocates of segregation and Jim Crow. Things only really began to change during the Johnson administration when Johnson made a practical, political decision to yield to some of the demands of the civil rights movement, which had become increasingly vocal and activist during the years following World War II. But, the party has never totally been able to escape its white supremacist origins. The DNA is still there.

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Thoughts and Questions from a Reader in Kansas

“From the film, I see why instead of ‘Make America Great Again,’ it needs to be let’s ‘Make Humanity Great Again.’”...

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We received the following letter:

I watched the filmed 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, and had the following thoughts and questions.

He says the problems in this society go back to its founding; modern Western society was founded on genocide, oppression/exploitation, white supremacy, and sexism. He points out the appropriate slogan of “White silence is violence” by some protesters to say that doing nothing is a choice, and an action (the action of inaction) which perpetuates violence.

He powerfully illustrates that if Capitalism is not the highest form of societal organization, then the U.S. has to explain to the rest of the world why it was forced down their throat upon pain of death. My opinion is that the U.S. will never admit that Capitalism doesn’t work. It will go down with that particular ship.

Avakian’s mention of the “Southern Strategy”* —I wish he would have elaborated a little more on this. I’ve heard of it, but am not familiar with the particulars, or how this fits into the bigger picture. He does make clear how American Fascism = Christian Supremacy and how global Manifest Destiny is America’s ultimate goal, under the guise of “spreading democracy” (religious domination hiding as secular morality).

I thought his “Order or Justice” question is a great point! Is order worth the absence of justice, or vice versa? I believe justice, even at the (temporary) loss of order, is worth it! On his challenge to free oneself of the “Great Tautological Fallacy”—I thought it is another great point, with multiple examples he gives to clearly illustrate this. His example of how the U.S. having nukes is being seen as OK while North Korea trying to have them is seen as wrong was particularly on point.

From the film, I see why instead of “Make America Great Again,” it needs to be let’s “Make Humanity Great Again.”

I do have a question (and will watch the Q&As soon to see if this came up from others): How can a large, widespread protest be sustained indefinitely? Do we quit jobs, stop paying bills, camp out with families in the streets for months or possibly years? Do we alternate who, how many, and when people are protesting? Do we crowdsource funds to make this possible? How do millions of poor marginalized people (like myself) accomplish this and sustain their basic needs?


* * First developed by Richard Nixon, the "Southern Strategy" of the Republican Party nakedly appealed to the racism of unrepentant reactionary Southern whites who had historically voted Democratic because the Republican Party had been—in the mid-19th Century—anti-slavery. In this way the Southern Strategy won most of these forces to the GOP banner, gave them political legitimacy and initiative, and established the GOP as the party of more or less open white supremacy. —Editors

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Father Luis Barrios, Holyrood Church/Iglesia Santa Cruz, NYC

“I am very strong recommending, Bob Avakian, my brother, in a prophetic way he highlights real issues that are happening in the U.S. ... a prophet is the one with the capacity to first identify problems; second have the capacity and the courage to denounce the problem. But more important, to change that reality of oppression into a liberating experience.”...

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Hello my name is Father Luis Barrios, priest in charge of Holyrood Church, Iglesia Santa Cruz. In this film that I am very strong recommending, Bob Avakian, my brother, in a prophetic way he highlights real issues that are happening in the U.S. When I say in a prophetic way, it is because I am trying to use the religious language, that a prophet is the one with the capacity to first identify problems; second have the capacity and the courage to denounce the problem. But more important, to change that reality of oppression into a liberating experience.

So the film is like a wake-up call, but more important than a wake-up call, it’s a call to action, that we need to get together, people who believe in God, people who do not believe in God, using the common denominator—justice. So we come together, so we can fight, resist, organize, mobilize against this fascist regime that we have in the U.S. This combination of Trump/Pence can’t stay. We need to get rid of this.

I want to close with this: The movie when you look at this on my invitation not only to see the movie but also to follow the invitation Bob is giving us, the parallels of Bob and Saint Oscar Romero―I was thinking about this when I was watching the movie―and it is: Oscar Romero always said, and of course that was the reason why they killed him: “The main source of my sermon is that I care about people. I care about humanity.” And that is the big message that Bob is giving us in this film. God bless.

The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name Of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible!

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Ernesto de la Loza, Street Artist ‒ Muralist - “The Ghetto Rooster”

“Bob Avakian is a man living in truth... Avakian's talk... was so penetrating, convincing and compassionate... We need more people who are like-minded, a frontline, no backstep, side by side.”...

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“Bob Avakian is a man living in truth. This man doesn’t blink. Avakian’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO... was so penetrating, convincing and compassionate. He’s clear minded and I see―I feel―his worth. Avakian gives me a lot of hope. And, I can imagine how evil speaks—the powers want to silence him. He shows capitalism is a great deception, reveals the racism and jingoism... and the genocide. This is the 21st century—a crucial time for human existence—yet we live in an Orwellian world and it affects all of us, all of human kind. We have to step it up and it’s not an overnight deal. We need more people who are like-minded, a frontline, no backstep, side by side. It’s good Avakian is reaching out to the people with this talk—he has a gift: everyone can watch the THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO and can comprehend this. It is very clear to the everyday person. Let’s ourselves assume responsibility, and be in alignment, and use this talk to deal with the fear factor, the apathy, the propaganda machine, the distraction and dumbing down to the max. Instead, refuse to live on the dark side and be focused on stopping this fascism. There is a rainbow coming through the storm.”

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Dongping Han, historian and author

“This is a powerful speech. It destroys all the deception the elite has been using to deceive the people. I hope that more people in the U.S., in China, and in the whole world can watch it. People need to wake up to the dangerous possibility of a new type danger in our country and in our world.”

David Meyerhof, educator/poet

“My parents and grandparents escaped from Nazi Germany and survived the Holocaust. I know what happens when people do not resist fascism. Now is the time to watch, listen and learn from a leader who is showing us the true picture of the Fascism in America and what we must do to stop it. Watch The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! A Film of a Talk by Bob Avakian.”

Arturo O’Farrill, Grammy-winning musician

“Avakian's message is clear and very inspiring.”...

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“The talk given by Bob Avakian was spot on in recognizing the grave danger we have put ourselves in by normalizing the ‘presidency’ of one of the biggest con artists to come from the cesspool of New York real estate/show business. His incompetence is topped only by his evil and unmistakable grab for fascism to the benefit of he and his billionaire cronies. The solution is clear, mass disobedience and ultimately a dismantling of this administration brought about by the will of the people. Mr. Avakian’s message is clear and very inspiring.”

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Maggie Brown, Vocal Artist and Activist

“...Everyone who loves Mother Earth must watch this film and must seriously consider joining this movement to bring forth a better world”...

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“The description of multi levels of human suffering at the hands of those in political and economic power has never been articulated clearer than by BA in the film, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Everyone who loves Mother Earth must watch this film and must seriously consider joining this movement to bring forth a better world.”

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Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran-American Activist

“Bob Avakian is the only one who has got the guts to say things as they are—that The Regime Must Go... that this is a nightmare. EVERYONE should see Bob Avakian's film. ...it's a 'wake up' film .... Bob Avakian is calling on us to act, not to cross our arms.”...

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“I think the Revolutionary Communist Party is the only organization that dares to stand up for humanity. This is necessary, humanity needs help. I admire the work and commitment of the RCP—how they stand up for our brothers and sisters, no matter their religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. Bob Avakian is the only one who has got the guts to say things as they are ~ that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go... that this is a nightmare. EVERYONE should see Bob Avakian’s film. Just stop and carefully listen to what he is saying. Listen to his call to action for everyone. And read the books he has written, he says things as they are.  That film ~ THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible ~ is a must see.  It’s a ‘wake up film’ to see what’s really going on and to do something about it. People are getting used to fascism, accepting it as an everyday way of living. You can see it now—people are blind to it. NO! We must not rely on politicians to do the work for us. No, we have to do it. Bob Avakian is calling on us to act, not to cross our arms. The elections coming up? No, we need to do this—and the longer it takes the worse it becomes. Bob Avakian has the New Communism—I’ve read a little but I haven’t gotten fully into it yet. I really do want to find out about it!”

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Matthew Shipp, Musician and composer

“Avakian skillfully weaves together the unique challenge we confront with the very specific brand of American fascism we face with Trump, the white nationalist Christian fascism of Pence, together with a historical context of how we got here—while issuing a very specific call to action now because this is a true worldwide emergency.”

Herb Boyd, Author, journalist and activist

“Whether on film or in person, Bob Avakian is a compelling advocate for real social change, and the more his voice and vision are exposed—and the film, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! ..., is a powerful vehicle—the more I’m convinced that others will feel a need to join him on the ramparts.”

Jim Vrettos, Professor—John Jay College, NYC; host of The Radical Imagination TV show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (cable)

“[T]he viewing of Avakian's film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! [is] a must see for progressives and others of whatever political ideology and persuasion.”...

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“Whether you agree or disagree with his scientific analysis of the objectives realities of our world, you shouldn’t doubt Bob Avakian’s lifelong, uncompromising dedication and commitment to the fight to liberate the oppressed, exploited and wretched of the world.

“That alone in the Age of Trump makes the viewing of Avakian's film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! a must see for progressives and others of whatever political ideology and persuasion.”

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A Black woman from Detroit

“He is very knowledgeable... spoke on crimes in Middle East and the consequences—where's humanity in all of this! More people have to WAKE UP and act in the interest of humanity!!!! And stay WOKE”...

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From a Reader:

03 January 2018

I suggested to an old friend, a Black woman from Detroit, that she watch BA’s speech. She did and sent me this comment immediately after watching it.

She wrote:

In response to Bob Avakian’s speech

He nailed it! Such a powerful speech!!! He called out the “christian fascists.”

So much truth about genocide, racism, slavery, bigotry—he called it like it is! True that since 1960s fascism has greatly accelerated! Reality is that the “church” had it done its job of preaching love for all mankind, slavery would never had taken place!!! So much in his speech that—I could go on and on.

We are in a disastrous and frightening situation!!!! The scary part is that so many people are unaware of what’s actually taking place society is fragmented—purposely pitted against each other because if unified this could not be happening!!! I do believe that there are many others like Bob who are as outraged as those who are affected!!! Even spoke on myth that America is the leader of the “free” world—I mean he touched on every conceivable injustice !!!!

He is very knowledgeable... spoke on crimes in Middle East and the consequences—where’s humanity in all of this! More people have to WAKE UP and act in the interest of humanity!!!! And stay WOKE

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Paul DeRienzo, Host Trump Watch on WBAI-99.5 FM

“I heartily endorse this video and encourage radicals everywhere to check it out.”...

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“Bob Avakian is an important leader in the struggle to stop the Trump fascist juggernaut. Avakian's lifelong commitment to revolutionary change and his opposition to the imperialist state's torture establishment should interest all those burning with a desire to see justice in this world. As the U.S. careens towards war under the most avowedly fascist government in its long and bloody history of domination of weaker people including a legacy of 400 years of enslavement of African people—the voice of real revolutionaries cries out to be heard. I heartily endorse this video and encourage radicals everywhere to check it out.”

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From a Reader:

“Avakian is not looking at this with world-weary, determinist "realism" but with an approach of seeing these as contradictions rooted in an underlying reality”...

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

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

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/what-this-film-opens-up-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

THE DIFFERENCE THIS FILM MAKES—
THIS CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING!

Updated April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From recent correspondence, after watching the film...

Three showings in one week done in a way that shows the potential to do many, many more

Developing a MOVEMENT of Showings of the Film of BA’s Talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!...

April 30, 2018

After doing showings in a Caribbean immigrant community and a showing to an African immigrant organization over the winter, this week there were three showings in churches in different parts of the city. Our approach was centered around discussing and working with the ministers and their congregations, confident that this film speaks with science and passion to the big questions that are deeply troubling to people about the Trump/Pence fascist juggernaut—where did it come from, what does it represent and what can and must we urgently do to stop it?

Proposals to these churches were not aimed mainly at getting a space for us to use to organize a showing in their community—but to engage their congregations and people in their larger networks with this film. One showing was entirely organized by the people in the church, and in the two others there was a combination of engaging the congregations AND some outreach to people broadly from the neighboring communities. Through this, a number of people came to the showings AND important connections were made with two other ministers and others in their communities, opening doors for a number of other showings of various kinds, as well as for mobilizing people to drive out this fascist regime. There were knotty problems to resolve with each, but they were resolved, leading to successful showings, though each had a very different character. Here is a brief summary of each...

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"There needs to be a transformation in people's thinking..."

“She dug into the challenges we face with people, this ‘comfort zone’ that millions who despise Trump don't spontaneously want or feel the necessity to rupture out of yet, and she agreed with BA's remarks on the GTF in relationship to this...

“[Watching the BA Q&A segment on "If successful ... who will step in to take the reins?"] opened up a conversation about a better world. She said, ‘It is very hard to be scientific’ when it comes to applying science to society and people. ... We have encouraged her to [read more by and about BA]...

“She said that in watching the film, and fighting to drive out the regime, there can be and needs to be ‘a transformation in people’s thinking’ and made clear she felt ‘the jackboots are coming’ and committed to taking up Refuse Fascism’s new call and upcoming plans.

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Correspondence to Revolution

"The opioid of entrepreneurialism..."

After watching the clip from the BA film on the direct line from the Confederacy to these fascists, he said that the civil rights struggle had been ‘pushed down’ by the Southern Strategy and said that this whole line of ‘you can make it in society—you just need to be an entrepreneur’ was horrible because ‘then that becomes the goal and nothing changes’ and that down to today Black people continue to be murdered by police. He called the ‘entrepreneurial’ thing ‘an opioid’... that the powers ‘call for Black people to be entrepreneurs but then there is Alton Sterling selling his CDs and he is murdered by police.’...

With regard to the film, he said BA is saying step out of your comfort zone... the Doomsday Clock is at one minute to midnight, everybody needs to be involved...

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Correspondence to Revolution

Understanding "why people are afraid..."

“One response had to do with what she called her own ‘lack of patience.’ She said BA is ‘very good at explaining WHY we want to do what we need to do.’ She emphasized there needs to be broad work ‘amongst different classes.’

“She was outraged by the attacks on the immigrants. ‘We can’t let them make these laws on them, and then follow them up with laws on others and then laws for all of us. I won’t be a nurse for the immigration authorities.’ She talked about how her city is being challenged as a sanctuary city—‘This is Los Angeles, LA County; I refuse to be a nurse in Nazi Germany or work with any doctors who do that.’

“She spit out ‘America First’ ... Whose lives matter? In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America—that goes beyond borders... In the Name of Humanity, that is what we are here for.”...

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Correspondence to Revolution

Is the U.S. a Force For Good?

“‘[I]t’s obvious, but it is amazing that people aren’t talking about the need for Trump and Pence to go.’...

“She got more deeply into the concept that the U.S. is a force for good in the world. She said, ‘If it is a force for good [and said initially that she thought there was that side, potentially]... but there are things quite the opposite: wars, being on the wrong side of things... the U.S. has committed real atrocities... most know about it, but they don’t think about it—it hasn’t always been a force for good.’

“She recalled that she’d seen a PBS show recently about the civil rights movement. And described the brutality, the water hoses....

“She said that the ‘Democrats follow the system... OK vote... but it is “deeper and more urgent”’ and reiterated that there is so much damage already done.”...

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Correspondence to Revolution

Risks, Sacrifice and Decisions

“He told us that he was supportive of what Refuse Fascism is doing. He said that he himself had been active with the struggle against the School of the Americas. During the meeting there was a time where he said: ‘Wait, hold on a second, if Refuse Fascism comes here, it could put the church in a spotlight and make things more difficult for our undocumented parishioners.’

“We pulled out the BA film right then, and answered his question that way, showing him the Q&A on minorities. This was the best answer we could possibly give―a real, comprehensive, and challenging answer, including about risks and sacrifices, and about what it is going to take to drive out this regime (and different levels on this question of the undocumented). The pastor watched carefully.

“There is more to learn about what the pastor thought, but it was off of this that he made a firm decision to host Refuse Fascism at the church and to promote RF as a group that should have an office at the church.

“His decision could have been different, but as I shared this experience with others, I really felt we could not lose: if they said No!, everything was honestly on the table and put forth and we’d made our best argument by showing the clip from BA and opened up the conversation and struggle over what humanity is confronting; and if they said Yes!, we had made a more solid ideological foundation from which to work with the church and its leadership.”

Correspondence to Revolution

"What's it going to take for people in the room to take up Refuse Fascism?"

“[One person] said he thought that left groups and progressives were more interested in fighting among themselves than against the enemy. He said that he had reservations about BA coming into the screening, but that the Talk had challenged some of his preconceived ideas. He said that he was getting a much different vibe in the Talk and it was very important to dig more into this particular question of what BA means to unite broadly...

‘What’s it going to take for people in the room to take up RF?’ When we posed this question, the responses were the two big ‘hows’—how do we mobilize millions of people into the street around this core demand and how would this lead to getting rid of the regime?”...

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Correspondence to Revolution

Bob Avakian’s filmed talk on the Trump/Pence regime is sparking dialogue and debate on the situation we face, the causes of it, and what to do about it. People are grappling with the “what” of it all, and they’re also getting a sense of how BA approaches things—of what it means to be a scientific communist.

The film is also giving rise to deeper questions about the whole society we live in and what to do about it. These letters enable people to share experiences and thoughts about all of this... as we build a social movement to spread this film, and other works of Bob Avakian.

Write us with everything—what you’re thinking about the film and other works you may be getting into... what people are raising to you and how you’re understanding their questions and answering them... what effect you see this having... and thoughts on how we can get this much further out into society.

If just 100,000 people watch this film in the next few months, it could make a huge a difference.

Write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com.


Read:

A film to change history at a moment when the future hangs in the balance:

Creating a Movement Around the Film of a Talk by Bob Avakian

April 23, 2018

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For a deeper look into what we are learning as we take this film out in the world, visit the Organizers’ Notebook.

Get deeper into Bob Avakian and the New Communism

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/what-you-can-do-to-make-a-real-difference-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

What You Can Do To Make a Real Difference

Updated May 19, 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.

Send us your ideas and experiences at: revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

Get deeper into Bob Avakian and the New Communism


Click to watch the film now

Donate towards promotion of this film

Make a splash on social media

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

Sample graphics

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Organize others

  • Go to film showings taking place across the country (see below for scheduled showings), or schedule your own.
  • Ask everyone to follow on social media @tuneintorevcom, and to promote the film on their platform and tag @tuneintorevcom (for more on this, see here).
  • Do a short video about the talk, or video others. Post them to social media and send to @tuneintorevcom, and email to: revolution.reports@yahoo.com
  • Distribute palmcards and other materials about the film and BA.
  • Be part of organizing a showing on your campus or spreading the word.
  • Invite the Revolution Club to speak to your group or organization, in your classroom or dorm.
  • Invite businesses, community centers, etc. to put up the poster of the film.
  • Speak to community organizations, social clubs, barbershops, community centers, local businesses or organizations, about hosting a showing.
  • Show the film in classes, religious congregations, with friends, and more.
  • Call people you know NOW to invite them to any screening in your area, or talk with them about the urgency of them seeing this.

Who Must See This Talk?

Send us your ideas and experiences.

Write to: revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/hundreds-of-thousands-protest-to-end-gun-killings-in-schools-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Hundreds of Thousands Protest to End Gun Killings in Schools:
#NeverAgain—“We Want Change!”

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the country on March 24, saying “Enough Is Enough.” Many students still fresh with grief over friends whose young lives ended so needlessly... outraged at the politicians who aren’t doing anything to stop gun violence in schools... determined to speak out and demand change.

In Washington, DC, there were several hundred thousand; the crowd in New York was tens of thousands; and large protests were held in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, and other cities, and in Parkland, Florida, less than a mile from where 17 students and school staff were gunned down on February 14. Many thousands more gathered in dozens of cities across the country. There were protests in other countries including in Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Rome, Italy; and Sydney, Australia.

In Washington, DC, Andra Day and Common performed “Rise Up,” Jennifer Hudson sang Bob Dylan’s song from the ’60s, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Lin-Manuel Miranda also performed at the DC rally, and many other celebrities performed or spoke at rallies in other cities.

The anger and determination of people was loud and visceral, from the stage and in the crowd. Among the youth in the crowds and from those who spoke at the rallies, there was a basic feeling that something is really wrong with a world where kids and teachers are getting gunned down in their classrooms. And there is a real sense that “we are ones who have to bring about change, it’s up to our generation and we have right on our side.”

In the wake of the school shooting in Florida, students are awakening and are coming 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 people are trying to figure out why this is happening. There is a streak of contempt for the politics as usual that has allowed this to happen. And there’s a lot of fear and anger at the current situation where people see all this ugly shit coming from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Republicans. People are trying to figure out what to do, and all kinds of solutions are being discussed and debated, with a lot of conflicting ideas in the mix.

But the truth of the matter is: Mass violence is woven into the very fabric and DNA of the USA. 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. There can be NO solution that doesn’t recognize that to change this, you have to get at these roots. There can be no understanding of the so-called “gun culture” in this country without recognizing the whole history of white reactionaries, especially in the wake of the upheavals of Black people in the 1960s, being armed to the teeth to protect white supremacy and “their way of life,” how racialized violence has been fostered by not just the NRA, but by politicians and those in the highest offices of government. And there can be no figuring out how to stop all this without recognizing how the violence of war is built into the very fabric of what America does around the world. (See here for more on this.)

Hundreds of thousands concerned about gun killings in schools were being politically mobilized by and around the politics of the Democratic Party. And the message from the stage and among most in the crowds was that people need to demand change from politicians, support those candidates who support gun control, and get out and vote.

As people are trying to figure out how to put a stop to these horrific murders, the “solutions” being offered in a big way are dead ends that would corral people into working within the very system responsible for violence and oppression, not just here in the U.S. but even more so around the world—and for decades and decades, from slavery, wars of empire, and much more.

At the same time, people at the protests were very receptive and open when revolutionaries introduced them to the communist leader Bob Avakian and the need for a radical, revolutionary solution. Thousands of people around the country got palm cards about Bob Avakian’s film, 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 number of cities, youths took up and carried signs from the Revolution Club that said, “The system has no future for the youth, the revolution does.” It’s clear that some sections of those who were out on the streets were roiling with deeper questions, given what is happening here and around the world.

Refuse Fascism was out in cities across the country, and thousands of copies of the new call “THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” got out that day.

It is positive that so many people, especially many, many high school students, are out in the streets demanding change. Big questions are being posed and this outrage needs to turn into many hundreds of thousands of people, awakening to political life, digging into why these horrific killings are happening and how to stop it for real. As revcom.us has written, addressing the students who are demanding that school shootings end:

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.

March for Our Lives, Chicago

Chicago
Photo: Special to www.revcom.us/Revolutionnewspaper

March for Our Lives, Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Photo: Special to www.revcom.us/Revolutionnewspaper

March for Our Lives, Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany   Photo: AP

March for Our Lives, Paris, France

Paris, France   Photo: AP

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/535/sacramento-police-murder-unarmed-black-youth-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Sacramento Police Murder Unarmed Black Youth
Hundreds of Protesters Rock the City:
"You guys are murderers. Murderers."

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

 

Update: On Friday, March 23, protests against the police murder of Stephon Clark continued for a second straight day and night, from before noon till close to midnight. Protesters blocked traffic at some of the busiest downtown intersections during the evening commute, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets.” When the marchers tried to get onto Interstate 5, they were blocked by a dozen Highway Patrol cops in riot gear and on horseback. The Sacramento Bee reports that protesters stood inches from the cops, chanting Clark’s name and shouting “Fuck the police.” At another point protesters reportedly surrounded a group of foot patrol and bicycle cops. Many in the crowd held up their cell phones and chanted, “Cellphones don’t kill.” One marcher said, “I’m mad. They look at us like we are bad people and we are the criminals, but they are killing us.”

In the evening there was a vigil for Stephon Clark in south Sacramento, which turned into a four-mile protest march, passing near the house where Stephon was murdered. After another standoff with the cops, the protesters dispersed. It was close to midnight.

Matt Barnes, former Sacramento Kings basketball player, announced he is joining former teammate DeMarcus Cousins to help with costs of the funeral for Stephon. Barnes earlier posted a picture of Clark with his daughter on Instagram, with the message: “Another pointless killing. This time in my hometown of Sacramento. Who’s gonna be next? Your brother, son, uncle, dad...?”

 

Stephon “Zoe” Clark, father of two children ages one and three, was murdered Sunday night, March 18, by two Sacramento cops—unarmed, in his grandparents’ backyard. The pigs fired 20 bullets at him after chasing him on foot through the neighborhood. The police claim they began chasing him after receiving a 911 call reporting that someone was seen breaking car windows. The pigs’ story is that they had Stephon “cornered,” and when he turned toward them, one cop shouted “gun” and they opened fire. In reality, they didn’t have Stephon “cornered”—he had arrived at his grandparents’ backyard, and he didn’t have a gun. All he had was a cell phone.

Stephon Clark’s grandmother told the Sacramento Bee, “The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground. I opened that curtain and he was dead.” She told the cops: “You guys are murderers. Murderers. You took him away from his kids.”

Outraged at the police murder of yet another unarmed Black youth, hundreds of people marched into Sacramento City Hall in protest on Thursday, March 22. Then they went onto the Interstate 5 freeway, blocking traffic for a mile in both directions while standing in front of cars chanting, “Don’t shoot. It’s a cell phone.”

The protesters then moved to the Golden 1 Center, where the NBA Sacramento Kings were scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks. They locked arms, forming a human chain in front of the arena doorways, shouting “Shut It Down!” Forty minutes after the game was scheduled to start, with thousands outside unable to get into the game, the police announced that they were closing admission. Only 2,000 fans had gotten into the 17,000 seat arena.

On Wednesday evening the police released video and audio recordings of the killing of Stephon Clark, including from body camera footage from the two pigs who fired the shots and from a helicopter that hovered over the entire chase and murder. There was widespread anger at what can be seen and heard on the recordings, which have gone viral on social media. Black Lives Matter in Sacramento called for protests the following day.

The police night-vision video from their helicopter shows clearly that Stephon Clark had nothing in his hands while climbing over fences—a gun would have been easily seen anywhere on him. Yet police “experts” have already all but exonerated the two pigs. And the Sacramento mayor joined them, saying he was horrified by the killing but won’t second-guess the “split-second decisions” of the cops.

One of Stephon’s friends said, “He was a great dad. He loved both of them [the children] to death.” DeMarcus Cousins, former Sacramento Kings center, has reached out to the family offering to cover funeral costs.

Stephon’s brother told CBS Sacramento, "You’re going to know his name forever ... You’re going to remember it like how you know Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. You’re going to know him. You’re going to remember this.

“I know there could have been another way. He didn’t have to die."

There’s a lot of talk about gun violence in American society now. Stephon Clark was a victim of a kind of gun violence that’s long been carried out by murderers with badges—about 1,000 killed every year, many of them Black, Latino, and Native American. Often it’s caught on video—but time and time again, the police perpetrators walk scot-free. This unjust violence stems from, and serves to enforce, a system that keeps oppressed people under conditions of poverty and degradation. It’s righteous that people rose up against the murder of Stephon Clark. The killer cops need to be convicted and jailed. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

 

After the disruption of the Thursday night game the owner of the Sacramento Kings said in a statement: “We at the Kings recognize people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.

“And we stand here before you—old, young, black, white, brown—and we are all united in our commitment. We recognize that it’s not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community, and we’re going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/trump-assembles-war-cabinet-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Trump Assembles War Cabinet, Pushes Toward Full-On Fascism

It’s Time to Say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What does it mean when the Trump/Pence regime’s new national security adviser John Bolton states, “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”1

What does it mean when the regime’s new nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, agrees with Bolton on North Korea, and that both of them are on record supporting attacking Iran as well?2

And what does it mean, a year into his presidency, that Trump now feels “unbound,” “heedless of his staff,” and “determined to set the agenda himself”?3

How Dangerous Is This? Do I Need to Pay Attention? Yes, You DO!

Trump has gotten rid of those who “hemmed” in his maniacal drive to impose America First domination, no matter how many laws, treaties, and alliances are torn up or people killed in the process. Now he has two top advisers who share his barbaric approach. All these moves have greatly heightened the real danger of war, possibly in the near future, and represent leaps toward full-on fascism.

On May 12, Trump will announce whether or not he’ll continue to abide by the U.S.’s nuclear agreement with Iran and other world powers. Both Pompeo and Bolton have called for tearing up the accord. This would sharply escalate tensions, and could put the U.S. on the road toward war on Iran. In 2015, Bolton argued “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”4

Trump is due to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un at the end of May. Both Bolton and Pompeo mock negotiating with North Korea and have clamored for military action. Bolton wrote the U.S. could “use airstrikes or special forces to decapitate North Korea’s national command authority, sowing chaos, and then sweep in on the ground from South Korea to seize Pyongyang, nuclear assets, key military sites and other territory.” Such an attack could spiral into a nuclear cataclysm incinerating millions.5

For a year we’ve been told the system’s mechanisms and the more traditional imperialist officials in Trump’s cabinet (the so-called “grown-ups” in the room) would prevent him from risking humanity’s future for his lunatic “Make America Great Again” agenda. Trump’s latest moves show these have been illusions—dangerous, paralyzing, deadly illusions.

Will Voting In the Democrats Stop This? NO!

Now, leading members of the ruling class are sounding the alarm—warning that Trump is assembling a “war cabinet,” and that “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war.” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official under George W. Bush, says, “This is the most perilous moment in modern American history.”

These are not normal intra-ruling class critiques of this or that policy—they are dire warnings of another order, because the crisis posed by this regime is of another order.

These imperialists fear Trump is barreling toward war, which could be suicidal for their empire (and perhaps for humanity itself), and used by Trump to crush his opponents and impose total, fascist domination.6

Yet there’s barely a whimper of opposition from leading Democrats.

What does it tell you when, as Trump is assembling a war cabinet, the Democrats in the House vote for a new budget that increases U.S. military spending by $61 billion to a staggering $700 billion for the coming year?

And what does it tell you when the leading Democrat in office, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, can’t even condemn John Bolton, much less call people into the streets to oppose him. All he can say is, “I hope [Bolton] will temper his instinct to commit the men and women of our armed forces to conflicts around the globe, when we need to be focused on building the middle class here at home.”7

It tells you that the Democratic Party’s first priority is preserving U.S. imperialism and its global dominance, even if they’re genuinely concerned about how Trump is leading the empire they both represent. And it tells you that the last thing they want is to unleash the kind of massive, determined struggle by millions that could actually drive the Trump/Pence regime from power because that, too, could greatly destabilize their whole oppressive social order.

Given this reality, how does spending your time, energy, and money campaigning and then voting for these people do anything to end the grave dangers the Trump/Pence regime poses? Especially now, when the Iran nuclear agreement may be shredded and a course towards war on North Korea may be set before spring even turns to summer, that desperate hope for a “blue wave” is even more delusional and harmful.

It’s Time to Say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The full consolidation of this regime—which has come dangerously closer in these past several weeks, would do incalculable damage to any chance at a better future. All this makes Bob Avakian’s open letter to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman last fall—“A CHALLENGE FOR PAUL KRUGMAN, AND ALL THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY”—ring out even sharper.

Does not the common recognition that this regime “may end up destroying civilization,” demand of us—of all those, of many divergent viewpoints, who can recognize that these are the stakes for humanity—that we act together, and do everything in our power, to bring about the massive political manifestation that is urgently needed to drive out this regime?

What Should I Do?

Face the reality that nobody will save us but our own united, uncompromising action—nothing else and nothing short of massive action involving thousands and then millions, nonviolent but defiant, not just for one day, but day after day... and not just taking on the monster on a single front but daring to call for its removal... holds out real and serious hope to avert the disaster that looms. And then join with RefuseFascism.org in this historic effort.

In mounting this battle, there’s nothing more important than watching and widely sharing the film of Bob Avakian’s talk—THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. It is the most concise, compelling, evidence-based, and damning exploration of how the history of the U.S. has led to the coming to power of the Trump/Pence regime—and why it must, and can, be driven out in the interests of humanity. Widely spreading this film can change the political terrain!

 


1. “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First,” Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2018.  [back]

2. “Trump Names America First, Fascist Warmonger John Bolton to His War Cabinet,” revcom.us, March 22, 2018; “While You Were Being Led to Fixate on Pennsylvania’s Election, Trump’s Fascist Juggernaut Barreled Ahead,” revcom.us, March 19, 2018.  [back]

3. “After Another Week of Chaos, Trump Repairs to Palm Beach. No One Knows What Comes Next.” New York Times, March 24.  [back]

4. “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” New York Times, March 26, 2015. Bolton wrote, “The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required.”  [back]

5. “The Military Options for North Korea,” Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2017.  [back]

6. “It’s clear to me that what Donald Trump is doing is assembling a war cabinet,” Nancy McEldowney, a former National Security Council staffer in the Clinton administration, told the PBS Newshour on March 23. “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war,” the New York Times editorialized. (“Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous,” March 23.) Richard Haass tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is now set for war on 3 fronts: political vs. Bob Mueller, economic vs. China/others on trade, and actual vs. Iran and/or North Korea. This is the most perilous moment in modern American history-and it has been largely brought about by ourselves, not by events.”  [back]

7. “How the Left and the Right Reacted to John Bolton as National Security Adviser,” New York Times, March 22.  [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/535/andy-zee-at-berkeley-emergency-program-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Speech by Andy Zee at the Berkeley Emergency Program

Why Fascists Want to Burn Down Revolution Books—and Why We Must Stand Together to Defend It!

March 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution Books-Berkeley
March 18, 2018
Andy Zee, Speaker

 

One of my favorite things to do is to be and speak at Revolution Books—here in Berkeley or in New York. 

This is so even as the occasion of this talk is to oppose the ugly assault on Revolution Books-Berkeley—the vicious and vile misogynist personal assault against Reiko as well as the staff culminating in the vicious threat to burn down the store itself. These fascists will not stop Revolution Books, they will not deter from why this is a precious and essential place that embodies the future.  And, NO! their assault will not diminish either our sense of purpose or joy in what is represented by Revolution Books.  

We mean both words of our name: Revolution ... Books. Not a marketing slogan, it is what we are and embodies for whom and for what we exist. This is a bookstore about the world, for a radically new world. A place that is guided by a radically new and emancipatory understanding of the first word of our name—REVOLUTION, as it has been re-envisioned in the new communism developed by Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader, who it should be said, is a “son” of Berkeley—the Berkeley High School Yellowjackets and UC Berkeley.

These fascists will not diminish the excitement of digging into the rich and varied explorations of the natural and social world contained in the books that surround us, or the engagement with each other and thrill of dialogue and debate over the world we live in, and how we could together change it. No, we will not, we must not let Trump, Pence, and their fascist thugs turn Revolution Books and the potential that it, and the intellectual, political, and cultural life that is contained within its walls into a 21st century burning of the Library of Alexandria. And, we will stand against such attacks wherever they occur.

The ugly spectacle of the two fascists who assaulted sister Reiko and the store with their threat of arson conjures and concentrates the present reality that not only Revolution Books faces, but that we all do. Any and every person whose work, whose morality, whose values aspire to a world of diversity, of overcoming the oppression of all peoples regardless of nationality, race, gender, or beliefs is under siege. The harsh fascist future that these thugs acted in service of impacts everyone who values critical thinking, scholarship, and engagement. If you appreciate what the arts contribute to our being human—to the tremendous import of imagination to the life of the mind and the vital richness of society, the attack on this bookstore is a frontline fight for you. The assault on Revolution Books is an attack on truth itself—on the importance of the scientific method, of why evidence matters, and even on the existence of objective reality. These are critical tools, essential modes of thinking, without which, at this moment in human history, our species and this planet might not survive. And let’s not step over that this is an attack on the radical discourse and struggle that is the legacy of Berkeley, while we understand that this fight is bigger than Berkeley.  

This attack is against all I’ve just said, and as such, it is no accident that Revolution Books has been their target—10 times in the last 6 months. Why? Because RB embodies all those values. And, beyond that, it is and will continue to be the political and the intellectual and the cultural center of a movement for an actual revolution to bring about a radically new liberatory world. And, that world—or frankly any world that is not the fascism that is being cemented into place today—depends on all of us joining together to defend this store as one front in the great challenge of this year, which is to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power.

The vicious ghouls that attacked RB are not only emboldened and unleashed by this regime, but are a strike force—a reactionary revanchist movement whose purpose is to intimidate and bludgeon people to accept and capitulate to this fascism. As part of its mission, Revolution Books has been a key site, a gathering spot, where people come to learn about and dig into this fascism, its roots and how to stop it. Revolution Books in New York held the first forum on the fascism of this regime in the month after Trump’s election, and today both the New York and Berkeley stores are featuring the film, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, A Talk by Bob Avakian—a must-see film to understand what we face and what we must do to stop it. So we are not surprised by their hatred for Revolution Books and we will not be deterred. 

We will not back down because of all of you, because of all of the people who can and must be rallied to defend Revolution Books. We should see the fight to defend RB as one part of a great cause, an unprecedented struggle to recognize, organize, and act decisively to stop the fascism unfolding before us. Everyone can be a part of spreading the word and forging the principled unity so that the million or more people who learned of the attack on RB Berkeley through videos and the media coverage can become a part of the movement to stand not just with RB, but against the whole Trump/Pence Regime. 

Fascism rules through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and by mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”  And, books and bookstores are definitely all three of these things to fascists. We should recognize that the assault on RB is not an isolated occurrence. The night after the attack on RB, a store window was smashed and an outdoor bookshelf torched at Groundwork Books Collective in San Diego. There is virulent connection between these fascist groups and the project of the Trump/Pence Regime to consolidate fascism in this country. This is deadly serious and I will return to our responsibility to stop it later.

So, it is a very serious purpose and responsibility that brings me to Revolution Books-Berkeley, yet, as I said, that does not diminish my appreciation and joy of being at and representing for Revolution Books. The walls around us hold a curated collection of books that matter in a place that matters. Books that are the repository of the experience of people all over the world over the millennia—stories of lives and of dreams. But more, RB is a place that is a bridge between the world that is today, and what could be.

Let me read you something that animates Revolution Books:

Let’s imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this “bitches and ho’s” and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this “get low” bullshit. And how come it’s always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It’s time for us to get up and get on up.

Imagine if we had a society where there was culture—yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too—movies, songs, television, everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see things in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world.

Imagine if the people who created art and culture were not just a handful of people but all of the masses of people, with all their creative energy unleashed, and the time were made for them to do that, and for them to join with people who are more full-time workers and creators in the realm of art and culture to bring forward something new that would challenge people, that would make them think in different ways, that would make them be able to see things critically and from a different angle, and would help them to be uplifted and help them to see their unity with each other and with people throughout the world in putting an end to all the horrors that we’re taught are just the natural order of things. Imagine all that. 

These words are from Bob Avakian, published in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian drawn from his 2003 film, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About.

These are values and ways of being that the first communist revolutions in the 20th century began. But, those revolutions no longer exist, defeated by the strength of the prevailing imperialist system as well as their own limitations in understanding and practice. After these defeats, determined that the struggle for total emancipatory revolution would not die, Bob Avakian went to work. Through over 40 years study and struggle—practically leading the movement for revolution and developing the theory that could win and bring about a fully liberating society, he has developed a new communism. Sifting through the previous experience, taking on board the changes in the world since, engaging work from other fields of inquiry, he developed a new synthesis of communism that really could bring about a far better world—a radically new society in which people could collectively go to work on overcoming all of the oppressive and exploitive divisions that exist today, a new society that could, at long last, achieve human emancipation all over the world.

***

We live today in a moment when we are staring down the barrel of an American fascism—that imperils lives here and around the entire globe. Last week I hosted the great Kenyan writer, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o at RB in New York reading from his prison memoir, Wrestling with the Devil. A young woman from Kenya spoke with me afterwards and said: the American people have to realize that when they vote it doesn’t just affect them, it can harm everyone around the world.

Today, around the globe tens of millions of people flee their homes—to escape war, famine, and unnecessary disease all brought about and exacerbated by the prevailing capitalist-imperialist system. These are people—with dreams and contributions to make. Their lives are not less precious than American lives.  Sixty-five people drowned last Saturday when their boat from Turkey capsized in the Mediterranean. Famine stalks Somalia and even northern Kenya. A genocide takes place in Ghouta, Syria, with yet a second genocide in the Congo in the offing as the vicious gangs and militias compete to provide the coltan for our cell phones and electronic devices. 

When such horrors ricochet around the world, with the threat of nuclear war and environmental devastation hanging in the balance as the Trump/Pence Regime barrels forward, that there is Revolution Books imbued with a hallmark of the new communism—that either the whole world gets free and people everywhere are emancipated, or none of us do. This is one reason why RB features voices and literature from countries and diasporas the world over.

Think about what a difference the kind of vision and the approach to creating a radically new culture that was in the “Imagine” quotation I just read. How it opens up vistas for people that are otherwise hidden. Think about this vision, and then contrast it with the self-obsessed culture of today: imagine if this whole new culture “laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems.” Right there is a glimpse of a point of departure in the method and approach of BA—putting the problems of the revolution, of creating a whole new society, before the people—not failing to lead by asking the right questions and providing orientation, but involving masses of people to collectively work on the solutions. This involves not just culture, but the economy, the form of a radically different state that would ultimately get beyond the need for states, education, media, tackling all forms of oppression and the backward ideas that reinforce that oppression. This vision and plan is available at RB in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian.

This method and approach which runs through the strategy and vision for the new society is also what we strive to apply today at Revolution Books. What kind of engaged atmosphere do we need? How do you approach putting these questions before people? By what method and approach do people tackle the BIG questions:  What kind of world do we want and what kind of people could we be? How do we overcome the huge divisions between peoples that so press on humanity? By what method and approach do we identify and dig into the fundamental problem we face in the capitalist system and how it shapes all the other forms of oppression that have plagued people for millennia. Why and how is revolution the solution?  How do we forge the kind of principled discourse and demarcating struggle over ideas, philosophy, strategy and the plans to fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution? While this method and approach is what the staff at RB strives to model, the best way to get into this is to watch the BA films and to get into THE NEW COMMUNISM and BAsics.

The heart of the new communism is a scientific approach to all of reality and to revolution in particular. It is a qualitative breakthrough in putting communism on a consistently and thoroughly scientific foundation. Why does this matter?

Ardea Skybreak in the book 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, which we feature at RB, paraphrases Neil deGrasse Tyson saying: “Science allows you to confront and identify problems, to recognize problems and figure out how to solve them, rather than run away from them. She continues, “It’s a tool—science—a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is...

She goes on to make this point:

Without science, you can only say what you as an individual think reality is, or maybe you can say what a whole bunch of people think reality is, or maybe you can say what a government, or religious authority, or some other authority might tell you reality is like, but that doesn’t make any of it true. Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.

No one can accuse Donald Trump of being the least bit concerned with what is true. No one in their right mind can think that Mike Pence, who is a biblical literalist and as such doesn’t believe in evolution, is concerned with actual evidence and objective reality. Cabinet Secretaries Pruitt, DeVos, Carson, Zinke, Perry, and that insanely cruel Trump appointed Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch—constitute a cabal of lunatic Christian fascists who deny actual reality while slamming their fascist unreal reality down the throat of the world.  

To this regime, to the idiot thug duo who threatened to “burn down” Revolution Books, wearing their Trump “Make America Great Again” caps while spewing white supremacist, vile anti-women slurs at the staff of RB—RB is an anathema to be destroyed. A bookstore whose mission is providing the books and the engagement where people can scientifically dig into the fundamental problems of this system and discover and learn how to fight it and ultimately replace it through revolution is everything these fascists fear.

Revolution Books is the place to dig into the why’s and the what’s of the fascism that grows around the world, and especially here with the Trump/Pence Regime.  At RB, through the work of BA, people dig into the roots of this fascism in the whole history of the U.S. Drilling down further into the nature of this system reveals why the core intractable problems such as the oppression of Black people, of immigrants, of women, of the destruction of the environment, and people of the world by U.S. wars and occupations for their empire—what we call the “Five Stops,” cannot be solved under this system. This is why we need a revolution. Our ultimate objective is, as I’ve been saying, for a radically different future than the fascism of Trump/Pence, or, for that matter, a return to a future of the “normal” oppressive workings of the capitalist-imperialist system. Rather, we advocate for a leap into a third, different and better future through a revolution aiming for a world where humanity could truly flourish.

The threat to burn down RB must be taken seriously. First, because it is the site of engagement and popularization of the theory and the leadership for a revolution leading to a radical new society on the road to human emancipation in the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, which I have been speaking about. But, also because the threat to burn down bookstores (and actually attempting to do so at Groundwork Books Collective in San Diego), is a serious warning of the growing bold initiative of the fascist remaking of society. 

It must be said to those academics and others who RB spoke with and who said to the staff that they are sorry that this threat was made against RB, and that they wished us well, but they see no imminent danger or reason to step out themselves to denounce this and to take up the fight to drive out the Trump/Pence Regime, to these people we must say: wake the fuck up. Get your head out of the sand or wherever it is lodged, and look at what is happening, not just to RB and to radical thought, but across the board—to 11 million immigrants, terrorized by the sword of deportation and detention; to women who Mike Pence says will lose the right to abortion very soon; to the youth who Trump told the police to “treat rough,” to incredibly draconian repressive laws being promulgated at all levels, and most especially to the people of the world who face environmental devastation and possible nuclear war at the hands of this fascist regime. And, this isn’t the half of it. Don’t say that fascism can’t happen here. Don’t reassure yourself that because you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, because you can get by, because fascism hasn’t directly affected you, that it isn’t fascism. If you adjust and accommodate to great injustice done to others you are aiding and abetting fascism’s progress. 

Yes, the threats to burn bookstores here is not yet May 10, 1933, when 20,000 books were burned in Nazi rallies across Germany. But the echo is pregnant today as the fascists aim to legitimize fascism on the campuses under a false flag rubric of “free speech.”

Critical thinking, intellectual rigor, and reason are under attack from a regime that is in control of all three branches of the government, that today commands two-thirds of the state houses, and is backed up by a fascist social base that hasn’t shrunk but only hardened in its resolve with a core of lunatic dangerous followers who will stop at nothing to get their white supremacist, xenophobic, women-hating fascist America cemented into law and power.

The political form of Christian fundamentalism that we accurately call Christian fascism and the white supremacist bullying “America First” fascism of Trump do necessarily have to go after reason, rational thought, and a scientific, evidence-based approach to reality. The breadth of literature, serious studies of roots of white supremacy, of the environment, of origins and continued prevalence of gender oppression, of the division of the world into imperialist and neo-colonial oppressed nations, are all daylight and a cross to these vampires, who ironically wrap themselves in the cloak of religion. 

Over the last 25+ years Bob Avakian has been deeply analyzing the rise and development of fascism in the world, with a focus on its development in the U.S. He has made the point that we communists, who are working to bring about a total revolution, will fight to uphold and defend the aspect of the enlightenment that holds that the world is knowable in all its complexity and which promotes science and the scientific method. But, with two critical differences. 

First, I quote BA, “The truth will not set us free, in and of itself, but we will not get free without the truth.” The truth will not just inevitably win out, it must be fought for. At Revolution Books we both appreciate and engage philosophy, art and ideas in their own right, but not for their own sake. For those of you who have seen Raoul Peck’s The Young Marx, the film shows Marx’s development when he said: “the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” The critical principle which BA has fought for up against all forms of social democracy, is that for ideas —including correct ideas—to become “operative” in society as a whole, there has to be a struggle, a class struggle, ultimately a revolution. And, second, we do not uphold the belief in the enlightenment that it is the role of the “enlightened” to “civilize” “backward” peoples and nations, the so called “white man’s burden” which regards the “enlightenment” as a positive instrument and justification for colonialism and imperialist domination.

At the same time, at RB we do appreciate the importance of scientific, intellectual, and artistic engagement in its own right and seek to learn from all of human experience. In this Avakian makes an important break with previous communist theory with the understanding that the truth does not have a class character. What is true is so because it corresponds to reality.

This is some of the theoretical underpinning and foundation for why you sit in this incredible place with the breadth of books and experience of humanity surrounding you. Why there are programs at the Revolution Books stores with authors and scholars from around the world. It’s why, for example, the wonderful young Ghanaian-American writer, Yaa Gyasi read from, and we had deep discussions at Revolution Books in both New York and Berkeley about her debut novel, Homegoing. It tells of an epic journey that goes from slavery in Ghana, through the middle passage, to slavery in the U.S. all the way up to today going back and forth between Ghana and the U.S. revealing how this history impacts the present day descendants of two sisters who begin the novel—one branch of the family in Ghana, the other in the U.S.

RB is, as we say, a bookstore about the world and for a radically new world. People from all over the world come into Revolution Books and these stores are sites that help spread the new communism around the world. This, too, matters as there are forces in the world that are right now struggling to take up and apply this new communism to their part of the world revolution. 

I spoke before of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, a friend of Revolution Books, writer and literary theorist, he opens the first volume of his memoir, with the following epigraph from the poet, Martin Carter: “I do not sleep to dream but dream to change the world.” Bob Avakian has written, “If you don’t have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state.” RB is a place that gives flight to the imagination, for a world that really could be.

Let’s go back again, and recall the bigoted distorted faces of the two fascists who threatened RB, who called themselves “Western Chauvinists”—a blood-drenched concept that is only a more pompous expression of Trump’s calling Africa and Haiti “shithole countries."

Contrast this poisonous chauvinism to this from BAsics, which guides Revolution Books: “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

The contrast between two futures couldn’t be sharper. Fascism vs. a store and a movement for revolution dedicated to a scientific approach to knowing and changing the world—a store dedicated to the emancipation of all humanity.

On the one side, a fascist regime headed by a narcissistic psychopathic racist sexual predator who epitomizes the ignorance of America as he pursues his “winners and losers” paradigm. Behind him, as RefuseFascism.org has put it, is a section of powerful ruling forces who see in Trump and Pence the vehicle for an American Fascism: Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism, a fascism wrapped in the Bible taken literally and the American flag, saturated with racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. With a legion of puffed up turds—dried up revenge filled thugs—who cling to their delusions of superiority, now backed up by the most powerful state. 

On the other side, is all that I have spoken about that is concentrated in this store. It is not just about the staff or the place, although it is that, it is about all the people who hate injustice and all forms of oppression and exploitation. It is about the aspirations of humanity to live in a far different and better world. It is about the science, the vision, the strategy, and the leadership for a truly emancipating revolution.

What’s it going to be? That is up to us. Are we going to stand against this regime and its goons? Are we going to struggle with our friends, families, co-workers, teachers, and fellow students, indeed with everyone and everybody we can to unite broadly to drive this regime from power? Are we going to struggle with our friends, families, co-workers, teachers, and fellow students—and even ourselves, to engage Bob Avakian’s new communism, the most radical liberating theory for transforming the whole world and ourselves in the process—a theory that is a revolution in thought, and a breakthrough in strategy and conception of a new society on the road to human emancipation. That there is a way out of the madness and horror is cause for celebration, and Revolution Books is the place for that party.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/535/berkeley-emergency-program-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Emergency Program to Defend Revolution Books Berkeley Against Fascist Attacks

March 20, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

About 70-75 people packed into Revolution Books in Berkeley on March 18 for the emergency program featuring Andy Zee on “Why Fascists Want to Burn Down Revolution Books—and Why We Must Stand Together to Defend It!” There were many longtime and newer friends of Revolution Books and activists who have worked with Refuse Fascism. There were about 10 students, including some who are involved in THE NEW COMMUNISM study classes or who were part of screenings and discussions at the bookstore recently of BA’s film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible There were bookstore industry people, and people who just care about books and don’t want to see modern-day book burnings. And there were many new people who came because they saw the video of what happened online and wanted to be there to support the store and find out what it’s all about.

The program opened by showing the Now This video of the March 3 fascist attack on Revolution Books, which has now been seen by 2.7 million people just on Facebook. This was followed by a number of video statements of support and written statements—from David Gunn Jr. (son of the first abortion doctor killed by anti-abortion extremists), Peter Coyote, and others—which were read. UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law professor Jonathan Simon spoke powerfully to the historical and present-day danger of liberals remaining silent while fascists attack revolutionaries, ultimately making it easier for fascism to roll over liberal democracy. Andy Zee gave a substantial and exciting presentation, infused with the spirit of Bob Avakian’s new communism, bringing alive the revolution and the books that Revolution Books is all about, the relationship between knowing and radically changing the world. He ended with a challenge to everyone who cares about truth, justice, and critical thinking, to stand with Revolution Books, unite to drive out this fascist Trump/Pence regime, and engage this new communism. This was followed by an hour of Q&A. Over $1,000 was raised for Revolution Books, and many people filled out forms to volunteer and get involved.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/trump-pence-regime-moving-to-institutionalize-christian-fascism-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Trump/Pence Regime: Moving to Institutionalize Christian Fascism

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Christian fascists are a powerful, leading component of the fascist cohorts that make up the Trump/Pence regime. These biblical literalists are steeped in anti-scientific ignorance, hatred for LGBTQ people, and a determination to deny women any control over their own bodies and reproductive functions.

Bob Avakian has analyzed the rise of Christian fascism within the U.S. ruling class and in society as a whole, in works such as “The Truth about Right Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer.”

These fascists are deadly serious about imposing a theocracy—a society in which the Bible taken literally and forcefully becomes the basis for the law, culture, and morality of all society. Donald Trump has appointed Christian fascists to leading  influential positions in major institutions and organizations. They are rapidly shaping law and society as they move towards the theocracy they seek. They pose a mortal peril to all society.

Some key developments from last week alone:

Trump named Christian fundamentalist Robert Redfield to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is the leading national institute to promote public health and safety. Redfield was a U.S. Army medical officer when the AIDS epidemic ran rampant in the 1980s and early 1990s. Ignorance of the origins and forms of transmission of the disease was enormous. Redfield contributed to that ignorance, and designed barbaric forms of punishing people with AIDS. HIV-positive recruits were barred from the military. Mandatory testing, with no confidentiality, was initiated for all troops. Chaplains informed soldiers if they were HIV positive, while military police rifled through their possessions looking for “evidence of homosexuality.” Soldiers who tested HIV positive were isolated in special barracks known as “the leper colony,” and “treated as prisoners,” as one report said. They stayed there until they were given dishonorable discharges, or developed full-blown AIDS. Redfield said, “The reason we have done what we have done, is that we think it’s good medicine—and it’s medicine that might work in the civilian sector, as well.” Now this ignorant, bigoted, hateful quack is set to impose those fascist methods on all society as the top official responsible for the public health of the population.

Trump renewed his transgender ban for all branches of the U.S. military. He approved a policy recommendation that “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service.” Trump’s latest order circumvents a court order that overturned his previous transgender ban, by saying transgender people can remain in the military under “limited circumstances” at the behest of either the Defense Department or Homeland Security secretaries. The U.S. military is an organization of reactionary violence against the people of the world, and NO ONE should want to join it. But the fascist Trump/Pence regime is branding trans people as “unworthy,” and less than human, and it is signaling to rabidly anti-gay people that it is now “open season” to persecute and assail trans and gay people. This ban is also a cornerstone of the Christian fascist remaking of society, and developing a virulently anti-gay military.

Mississippi’s Christian fascist governor signed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, the earliest abortion ban in the country. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The law also punishes doctors—they must submit reports on abortions, and if they are determined to have “knowingly” violated the law, their medical licenses will be suspended or revoked. This is the latest Mississippi law that restricts to the point of eliminating access to abortion in the state, which has only one clinic. A legal challenge by the clinic has temporarily blocked the law from being implemented. But the governor, who has said his goal is to “end abortion” in the state, has vowed to fight until that is achieved.

The Christian fascists are very far along and increasingly well-positioned to achieve the triumph of their theocracy. The Trump/Pence regime poses a mortal threat to humanity and the planet itself. The need to drive it from power is urgent, and the time must be seized before it is too late.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/more-wrangling-about-the-movie-black-panther-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Letter from some readers:

More Wrangling About the Movie Black Panther

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We are writing this letter to contribute to further discussion and wrangling with this very important movie, which has had a major impact, which many people have seen, and which many people are discussing and debating.

If you have not yet read the review by Noche Diaz, stop reading this letter and go read it. This letter is a reflection on the analysis of the film in that review.

Ultimately, we agree with how Noche Diaz calls out the filmmakers both for their depiction of what passes for revolution and revolutionary youth (as epitomized by the character Killmonger) and their clear stand on the side of reform and against the desirability of revolution—and if it comes down to it, on the side of counterrevolution. But there are three issues which we want to thrash out with a little bit more depth.

First, we think that the writers and director were seriously and honestly wrangling with the moral dilemma of reform vs. revolution. An important question at this moment in time is why, as Noche Diaz puts it, “they stumbled badly.” This is an important strategic question for the revolution and something to explore more deeply.

Second, we feel that it is important to explore more deeply the character of Erik Killmonger—both from the viewpoint of why the filmmakers depicted him in the way that they did and in terms of the objective effect this character is having on the audience, those among all strata of (but not only) Black people.

Third, in our wranglings with this, we are not sure if it is correct to label this movie “poisonous gas” with the finality of verdict in relation both to the intent of the filmmakers and to the objective effect of the movie on those watching it. It is one thing to point to where the logic of the movie ultimately leads (as Noche Diaz does), but at the same it’s important methodologically in evaluating a multilayered work of art (and more generally) to guard against “flattening out” contradictions and in this case, to pass judgment on a film based on what it may represent in the final analysis.

To give a very short synopsis of the central storyline of the movie: Black Panther is set in the context of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with a fantasy resource, vibranium, which has allowed it to develop advanced technology and remain unconquered because it has been able to remain hidden from the rest of the world, thus not becoming the target of the colonial forces in the world which for centuries had plundered Africa. The film depicts this fictional African country beautifully and imaginatively, bringing to life its language, dress, culture, and traditions. The creativity and artistry of the movie, in conjunction with a Black superhero, an overwhelmingly Black cast, and its portrayal of women as intelligent, strong, and courageous, have rightfully earned the movie critical acclaim and have contributed to its becoming a cultural phenomenon.

The two central characters in the film are T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda, the Black Panther; and Erik Killmonger, who was born and grew up in Oakland, California, but whose father was N’Jobu, a Wakandan who had been sent to the U.S. to keep tabs on what was going on there. We are going to rely on your having seen the movie or having read Diaz’s review to understand why Killmonger became the enemy of the Wakandan rulers and how this propelled his life forward. It is this plot line, the contradiction between Killmonger and the Wakandan rulers, particularly T’Challa, the Black Panther, which drives the film and through which the moral issue between reform vs. revolution is played out.

A key argument in the movie, being battled out in various dimensions, centers around two moral dilemmas.

The first is: Should Wakanda, with its advanced civilization and its immense resources (including the ability to heal people), take on the responsibility to help people beyond their borders, or does the horrid history of slavery, colonization, and relentless exploitation and oppression in Africa by colonial and imperial powers justify Wakanda’s choice to protect itself by staying hidden from the rest of the world? There was some dissent among Wakanda’s elite, some of whom did want to use their powers to help others (including by sharing the technology they had developed that gave individuals some superpowers). Early in the movie we see that one of the characters, Nakia, is undercover in an unidentified African nation rescuing young women being kidnapped and enslaved. In fact, this moral dilemma is something which T’Challa (who early in the movie takes on the role of a young heir to the throne of Wakanda and the title of Black Panther) struggles with throughout the movie.

The second moral dilemma, related to this and also independent of it, which becomes the central theme of the film and clearly the one resonating with masses of people who have seen this movie is, as Noche Diaz’s review speaks to with depth and insight, reform vs. revolution. Through the character of Killmonger this dilemma is further developed: Is it the responsibility of Wakanda to utilize its resources to arm the oppressed the world over and end the oppression of all those held down by their oppressors? Killmonger’s basic stand is that it is wrong for Wakanda to do nothing, thereby allowing the oppression of people all over the world to continue. (Killmonger’s view on what constitutes revolution is something which this letter will come back to later. Essentially his is a revenge-fueled vision of the oppressed rising up to become the new oppressors, in sharp contrast to a real revolution aimed at emancipating humanity.) While the plot line concerns Wakanda versus the rest of the world, the movie makes clear (as Noche Diaz points out) that this basic moral dilemma of reform vs. revolution is “explicitly speaking to and dealing with the oppression of Black people in America, and what is to be done about it.” Within this, there are two basic themes as we understand it: one, the film is wrangling with the legacy and verdict on the Black Panthers of the 1960s (which we are not going to speak to at any length here); and two, it is wrangling with the contradictions and outlook of Black youth in this country and the implications for making revolution (the latter being concentrated in the character of Killmonger—which will be explored more deeply here). Related to both of these themes, there is also an implicit warning to those of influence in the ruling class, but more directly, we think, aimed at the Black middle and upper classes, that if you don’t pay attention to what is happening at “the bottom” of society, the whole world could be ripped apart by those rising up against oppression in the ways concentrated in the Killmonger character.

Through the course of the film, T’Challa and the Wakandan elite decide that Wakanda will come out of hiding, break with its isolationist policies, and use its resources to attempt to render reforms to help the world. In one of the last scenes of the movie, T’Challa and Nakia return to Oakland, to the basketball court and apartment building where young Killmonger had grown up. Wakanda had bought up land in the area and is in the process of putting up housing and resource centers for the people of the area. A little boy comes up to T’Challa and asks him, “Who are you?” Of course he is the Black Panther, and we believe that this was the filmmakers’ way of saying that this is the road (breakfast programs and health clinics, etc.) which the Black Panthers of the ’60s should have stayed on, whereas their ideas of revolution would ultimately lead to where Killmonger ended up. We think that this can be reasonably deduced from this scene and the whole trajectory of the movie, even as it could also be possible that the filmmakers likely have great respect for the Black Panthers, including some of their more militant ideology and self-defense actions.

This gets to the core of an urgent and strategic question for the revolution: Why, around this basic moral issue of revolution vs. reform, did the filmmakers, as Noche Diaz puts it, stumble so badly?

Noche Diaz calls out the class outlook of the filmmakers: But what we get coming through in the film is the vision and aspirations characteristic of sections of Black middle strata and Black bourgeoisie, along with their fear of basic masses of Black people, their destructive potential, and the upheaval that would come from their rising up. The fear that if this gets unleashed, the only place it can go is a bloodbath of revenge with despotic new rule over the people.”

Again, ultimately we think how he is describing the class outlook of the filmmakers is true, but we also think that the filmmakers were struggling with this viewpoint, in regards to themselves and sections of the Black middle strata and Black bourgeoisie. This is something which we should look at more deeply in terms of how we approach this.

We think the dynamics of what the filmmakers failed to understand or refused to confront is framed by the following insight of Bob Avakian, leader of an actual revolution and the architect of a new framework of human emancipation:

Now, when you come up against the great gulf that often, and even generally, exists between the conditions and the suffering of the masses of people, on the one hand, and what you are able to do about that at any given point—when you run up against that repeatedly, everyone feels a definite pull which expresses itself in moral terms: how can you stand by and not do something about what’s happening to the masses of people?...

But moralities are a reflection of class outlooks, ultimately. They are a reflection of your understanding of reality, which takes a class expression in class society, in an ultimate and fundamental sense. And there is a morality that corresponds not to reformism and seeking merely to mitigate the conditions and the suffering of masses of people—not merely to addressing some, and only some, of the symptoms of that suffering—but to uprooting and abolishing the causes of that suffering. This morality corresponds to a revolutionary understanding, that we cannot eliminate the suffering of the masses, and in fact it’s only going to get worse, as long as this capitalist-imperialist system remains.
—“Reform or Revolution—Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality,” Supplement to Chapter 1 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

Sometimes people with good intentions want to see the mitigation of the suffering of masses of people—but at the same time they do not want revolution. We think that the director and screenplay writer, Ryan Coogler, sincerely cares about the masses of oppressed people. His film Fruitvale Station, on the life and murder of Oscar Grant at the hands of the police, could not have been so powerful and affecting if this were not the case; nor could he have crafted the character Killmonger in some of the ways he did, with great affection (something we will speak to later), if this were not the case. One can see oppression, one can see horrible injustices, and sincerely yearn for a “better world,” but if the “understanding of [this] reality” does not start with a scientific understanding of, as BA says, “the causes of that suffering” and the recognition that “it’s only going to get worse, as long as this capitalist-imperialist system remains” then there is a basis for people to deceive themselves into believing that the only road is that of reform, and when masses do rise up, to possibly oppose them with counter-revolution. [Italic emphasis added to quote.]

Can people with a middle class or petit-bourgeois outlook (which is also the outlook of most of those from the basic masses) break with this outlook and unite with the need for an actual revolution? Yes, but no matter how sincerely they may agonize over the suffering of the masses, if they stubbornly refuse to take up a scientific materialist understanding of reality they will end up in the wrong place. This is an epistemological battle which needs to be waged very fiercely in its own right.

Once people do come to understand things more clearly, more scientifically, then one finds oneself at a place where, as Bob Avakian has put it, epistemology and morality meet. In THE NEW COMMUNISM, BA speaks to this:

I have made the point ... that there is a place where epistemology and morality meet. What does that mean? It means that, if you come to understand certain things, then the question poses itself: What do you do about what you’ve come to understand? Do you follow it, or do you turn away from it, or adulterate it, water it down and change it into something else? These are the places where epistemology and morality meet. And this doesn’t happen just once, it happens repeatedly in life and in an ongoing way, for everyone. The challenges repeatedly pose themselves. As you’re learning about life and the world, what do you do with what you’re learning?
THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation

This is the challenge which must be put to filmmakers, artists, and intellectuals like Coogler (and of course more generally with the broad masses of people) in order to win them over, through struggle, to the side of revolution.

So the question is: Did the filmmakers “stumble badly” because they don’t have a scientific understanding of reality and therefore don’t recognize that the oppression and suffering of the masses of people is rooted in the functioning of the system of capitalism-imperialism (and they haven’t done the work to achieve this scientific understanding), or do they understand this on some level but have refused to confront the implications of this understanding—that revolution is the only solution? (We won’t go into this here because Noche Diaz did so in his review, but what the fuck were they thinking making a CIA operative a hero in the film? What does this reveal about their outlook?!) These are the kinds of questions which need to be taken up and put to the filmmakers; and more to the point, we do think the film raised these questions and it is our responsibility as revolutionary communist leaders to pull such questions out of the film and struggle with others about them.

***********

We feel that it is important to explore more deeply the character of Killmonger―both from the viewpoint of how he was depicted by the filmmakers and the objective effect this character is having on the audience, those among all strata of (but not only) Black people.

This is where we are not sure if we totally agree with Diaz’s interpretation of the character Killmonger, or what the intent of the filmmakers was in the depiction of this character. We thought that there was a very conscious crafting of this character—with Killmonger concentrating the historic anger and angst, the rage and hopelessness of getting any justice out of this system, and at the same time concentrating an outlook that the only way to fight the system was to become like the system. Killmonger had joined the U.S. military Special Forces and killed people all over the world in order to learn, as we would say, to “fight their way.” This means fighting in correspondence to his vision of “revolution,” which was to use Wakanda’s technology to initiate a worldwide uprising of the oppressed in order to take over empires and become the new conquerors. At one point, Killmonger declares, “The sun will never set on the Wakandan Empire.” This distorted conception of revolution is one where the oppressed rise up only to become the new oppressors. And how Killmonger fought, including killing people close to him as well as anyone else who got in his way, is a reflection of “the end justifies the means.”

This is where we do need to step in and challenge the filmmakers, who themselves could not see beyond the framework of bourgeois reform or imagine a real revolutionary uprising. You do want to yell, if you are going to pit reform vs. revolution, at least have the integrity to depict what an actual revolution would look like! What those under the leadership of Bob Avakian are fighting for is a revolution whose goal is the emancipation of humanity—the most radical revolution in human history, one that aims at nothing less than overcoming all forms of oppression and exploitation all over the world, a society where humanity could truly flourish. Furthermore, we will “fight our way,” meaning in ways corresponding to the objectives and principles of such an emancipating revolution. In discussing the character of such a revolution, Bob Avakian has pointed out that a revolution would be possible: “when there is a qualitative change in the objective situation, when a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions and millions have been brought into being.” And in terms of the character of that revolution, he goes on to say:

...And when that revolution is made, when a new, revolutionary state power is brought into being, there would not just be a new army, but that new army would be guided by very different principles. There would be a culture in that army, but it would definitely not be (as in the hymn of the imperialist Marine Corps): “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”—that’s just not going to be what guides the new state apparatus! .... The principles we’re talking about here, and the reason we’re going out to win people to be emancipators of humanity, is that they’re going to be the actual backbone of the new state.
BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian , 2:15

From what we have read, Killmonger is being embraced and is being recognized not as the villain of the film, but as its hero and (while this is debated) the “real revolutionary” (as opposed to T’Challa, the Black Panther character), by many who have seen the film including many film critics. The reason we believe this is the case is that even as Killmonger’s program of revenge (which essentially comes down to “they have ruled long enough, now it’s our turn”) mirrors that of the oppressors, it was clearly coming from the experience of the oppressed and the justness of the oppressed rising up against their oppressors.

We do not think that Ryan Coogler, the director and one of the writers, was only using the character of Killmonger as a precautionary warning to those in power. We think he is conflicted on how to view the Black youth, especially those locked in the hellhole cities of this country. Yes, his depiction of Killmonger and more broadly what is represented by Killmonger is a warning shot, so to speak, to those in power about the powder keg that they are sitting on; likewise we are sure it is also a cautionary tale to those in the middle and upper classes of Black people who see the oppression of the masses and are just “letting this be.” However, based on what we know about Coogler, there is good reason to think that he himself is in angst not just that the system has no future for Black youth (and Black people more generally), but that it has carried out such oppression and savagery for centuries. We think that he has real problems seeing beyond the hopelessness of the situation and is in fact anxious about where this hopelessness might lead. We think that this is what he is wrangling with in this movie—we do not think his humanizing of Killmonger (in various ways in the movie) was merely a sophisticated cynical device to sneak in why revolution might seem like something you want, but really it is a dead end.

At the end of the movie, Killmonger refuses to give up on opposing the system (or as Noche Diaz puts it, refuses to denounce revolution) when he refuses T’Challa’s offer to allow him to live, because obviously it would be on T’Challa’s terms. Killmonger’s defiant response to T’Challa was, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.” We did not think that this was a cynical move by Coogler to say to the masses, give up of any hope of revolution—your only choices are to give in to the system or die. We do not think this was Coogler’s only intention (though it could have been one possible interpretation), nor do we think this is the objective effect it is having on the masses of Black people as well people more broadly. But to be honest, we do not know for sure, but in things we are reading about the responses to the film, this is not the hit we are getting. To anyone who watched this film and has any heart, we think this scene might have been meant to legitimize Killmonger’s hatred of the historic oppression of Black people and to keep open the question of revolution. Even if this was not the intent of the filmmakers, we think this is the objective effect it has been having on many in the audience. Whether this was the intent of the script or the result of the moving and powerful performance by Michael B. Jordan, we are not certain—but we do think this is the objective effect. But in any case, the Killmonger character was crafted with both an emotional and intellectual core that was meant to be admired and wrangled with in a number of dimensions. Finally, it has created a lot of controversy and debate around how to understand Killmonger.

None of this is to argue that the filmmakers have or support a more liberating view of an actual revolution.

Clearly, the filmmakers are much more comfortable with some kind of fairytale of reform. The last scenes in the film where Wakanda comes out of “hiding,” joins the world “community,” and starts dispensing charity to the oppressed are very clear on this. But this was not the emotional core of the ending of the movie—it was definitely Killmonger’s defeat and then death. We interpreted this to say, to rebel is just, but to rebel the way Killmonger tried is a dead end—but we think the filmmakers were possibly leaving open this question of revolution as something to be wrangled with.

By pitting T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and the Black Panther, against Killmonger and siding with a benevolent bourgeoisie over Killmonger and what is represented by his character, this film (whether this was the intention of the filmmakers or not) squarely raises a very strategic question for the revolution: “Are the masses fit to rule?” Clearly this film says no! Two things here: One, when was the last time this question has even been raised in a mass way in the culture; and two, related to this, we need to see this as an opportunity to struggle with the filmmakers (as well as other artists and intellectuals) and the masses more generally around this strategic question.

What it means and how to approach preparing the masses to be fit to rule is spoken to in “On the Strategy for Revolution”:

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution is a key part of our strategic approach, which provides a way for the Party to unite with and give leadership to people to change themselves as they take part in the struggle to change the world...to lift their heads and broaden their vision, to recognize what kind of world is possible, what their real interests are, and who their real friends and real enemies are, as they rise up against this system...to take up a revolutionary viewpoint and revolutionary values and morals as they join with others to resist this system’s crimes and build up the basis for the ultimate all-out revolutionary struggle to sweep this system away and bring in a whole new way of organizing society, a whole new way of being...to become emancipators of humanity.

For all this to happen, and for the revolution to have a real chance of winning, leadership is essential. And there is such leadership. But there is also much work to do.
A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, “On the Strategy for Revolution”

***********

As Noche Diaz points out, this film has been seen by millions and millions of people, and among Black people it was “so welcomed as a breath of fresh air.” We do think it is necessary to call out, as Noche Diaz has done, what is “poisonous” in the film. Yet, our thinking is that even with all the serious problems with this film, the film has opened up “air” or space to delve into, wrangle with, and sharply struggle out these questions with individuals and blocs of people—comparing and contrasting different approaches, different world views, different epistemologies, and where they will lead. Further, because we think that the filmmakers are themselves wrangling with some of the questions raised above, we do not think it is correct to label this movie “poisonous gas” with the finality of verdict in relation both to the intent of the filmmakers and especially to the objective effect of the movie on the audience.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

From a Revolution Club Member:

The Young Karl Marx, BA, and Contending with Other Views

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this letter from a member of a Revolution Club with thoughts off of seeing the recently released film The Young Karl Marx. The film tells the story of 26-year-old Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels and others in the 1840s who were fighting to bring a scientific understanding to the revolutionary movement of the time. For more, see the interview with the film’s director, Raoul Peck, on The Michael Slate Show.

I went to watch The Young Karl Marx and it had a big impact on me, the more I let it sink in and kept thinking about it. The history, what was in the film I didn’t know anything about it, so it was really interesting learning about it.

The point on contending lines has been something I’ve been thinking a lot about, and one thing that was really great about Marx was that he was not afraid to be contending with all these lines out there. He had an understanding that he knew was necessary to put forward. I’ve been thinking about that in relationship to the Revolution Club, to what we have in Bob Avakian (BA), and what we need to be fighting for in society. I think this made it more clear in my thinking what contending lines look like and why it even matters how we are fighting for this line to gain leadership.

I was thinking about what is represented in the new synthesis and in BA. Why does it matter for that to be what gains leadership? Put simply: It is what humanity needs! It is what people need to be introduced to, and engaging with and taking up themselves if we are serious about making this revolution real!

In the Club, we can’t be afraid to contend with other lines. I remember a struggle in the Club where someone said that one of the reasons they weren’t stepping up to lead was because they were “afraid to say the wrong thing.” This person talked about other people who have led the Club in a situation where the pigs are fucking with people, the agitator would do a very great agitation in exposing the pigs and what they represent and at the same time, people would cheer and give us thumbs up and agree with what was being said. And I was thinking, well why the fuck do we do agitation? Is it to be popular? To get people to come around us and tell us “good job!”? Because a lot of the times we are too content with that!

This is in opposition to what’s discussed in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution: “[W]e need to approach everything―evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people―according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

That’s the reason we do agitation! Not just to get thumbs up! So I’ve been thinking about how to change this in the Club. We can’t be liberal or apologetic when it comes to contending with lines. We shouldn’t pick a fight with everyone who puts forward something reformist. But how are we really going to change people’s thinking and understanding if we aren’t putting forward our line, and having people make the compare and contrast on their own? And not in an antagonistic way either.

Learning and appreciating how BA does it, with a lot of humor and heart for people, not making people feel stupid for thinking something that isn’t true. But also with lots of urgency and hatred towards the system.

 

 


 

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Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

“Testilying”: A Brutal Pig Snare of Lies and Punishment

March 26, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

John Bunn was 14 years old in 1991—the year he and his friend Rosean Hargrave were arrested and charged with killing an off-duty corrections officer in Brooklyn, New York. There was no physical evidence against the teens.

The only testimony against them came from another cop who survived the confrontation. The cop falsely “identified” Bunn and Hargrave as the killers in lineups organized by NYPD detective Louis Scarcella. His lies were backed up by other cops and the prosecutor and upheld by the judge and jury that convicted the youths. Eighteen years later, John Bunn was released on parole; Rosean Hargrave was in prison until 2015. In 2016, a judge vacated Bunn’s conviction, saying Scarcella had “fabricat[ed] false identification evidence” essential to putting Bunn and Hargrave in prison.

Blue Wall of Deceit

Fabricating stories, concealing evidence, destroying evidence, throwing down fake evidence, lying about beatings and threats they inflict on people, covering up illegal searches and seizures, creating fake photo lineups, providing false accounts of witness identifications—all this and more is standard, deeply entrenched practice for the NYPD, and every police department in the country. A cop told the New York Times, “Behind closed doors, we call it testilying.”

This is not new, and it’s not just because the job of being a pig in the U.S. attracts dishonest people. In Los Angeles in the late 1990s, a huge exposé revealed a nest of police coverups, lies, and foul crimes against the people. One victim, a 19-year-old immigrant, was shot by cops while forced on his knees and handcuffed—then the pigs planted a rifle on him. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison after the cops lied in court, and left paralyzed for the rest of his life. The authorities had to review the cases of hundreds of people—mainly Latino youths—whose convictions were based on false testimony from cops. The entire LAPD was engulfed in a deep and massive scandal. But only three of the many cops involved ever spent time in prison. Four other cops were found guilty by a jury on minor charges—but then a judge declared the jury had made a mistake and threw out the verdicts. In Tulia, a small town in the Texas Panhandle, 46 people, 39 of them Black, were sent to prison in 1999 on felony drug charges, on the basis of the lies of one openly racist undercover pig. These are just two of many, many examples from across the country.

Police in this country enforce the “law and order” of a system of intense poverty, no decent jobs, crumbling housing, and shitty education for millions of people. A system of mass incarceration—some two million in prison, the highest rate in the world, overwhelmingly Black and Latino. A system in which Black and Brown youths are harassed and arrested over and over again until they are dubbed “habitual criminals.” A system where health care is nonexistent or piss poor. A system that has for centuries thrived on violently enforced oppression of Black, Latino, and Native American people. A system whose culture and legal system honor and uphold their brutal police over and over. And now, the fascist regime in power has made it clear that these pigs are even more free to carry out their brutality and terror without repercussion.

Lying cops are backed up by the legal system of this society every step of the way because their role is to maintain and defend this capitalist-imperialist system that exploits and oppresses tens of millions of people mercilessly.

Last year, the NYPD made 239,971 arrests. Overwhelmingly, these were Black and Brown people. A study by John Jay College professors found that from 1993 to 2016, Black people were about five times more likely than whites to be arrested for minor drug charges. According to New York City’s Budget Office, 90 percent of prisoners in city jails are Black and Latino.

Tens of thousands of people thrown into New York’s hellish jail system on the basis of phony or nonexistent evidence are locked up for months, even years. This cruel setup puts enormous pressure on people to make plea deals—to admit some “guilt” and either be sentenced to prison or put on probation—so they can get out of the infamous Rikers Island jail.

Very rarely is the false evidence challenged on any level. In 2016 only 1,460 criminal cases went to trial in New York City, while 270,304 criminal cases were “resolved” without a trial—meaning the police involved never were challenged about the “evidence” they brought against the people they arrested. As one Brooklyn cop said about him and his fellow pigs, they have “no fear of being caught. You’re not going to go to trial and nobody is going to be cross-examined.”

Even more infrequent is for one of these pigs to be exposed for their lies. The New York Times reported that “in the rare cases when an officer does testify in court—and a judge finds the testimony suspicious, leading to the dismissal of the case—the proceedings are often sealed afterward.”

Again, this is not just in one city but all over the country. In Los Angeles and Tulia, for example, many innocent people facing long sentences pled guilty rather than fight for a trial. A professor who studied these experiences wrote: “Time and again, actually innocent defendants asked ... to explain why they pled guilty repeated a common mantra: it was their word against that of the police, and who were the prosecutors, judges, or jurors going to believe?”

And in those highly unusual circumstances when a pig is proven, in court, to have lied—they are more likely to be promoted than to be punished. Kimberly Thomas was arrested on the basis of planted evidence and false testimony when she visited a friend in the Bronx who lived in a building where a police bust was underway. A video camera in the hallway proved that the story the cops used to charge her was complete bullshit. Over a year’s time she had to go to court 16 times. When prosecutors finally dropped her charges, she told the court, “For 396 days I have been fighting for my life, my freedom and my sanity. This has been such a surreal journey that I don’t wish on anyone.” Meanwhile, the cop who tried to frame her had been promoted to detective.

Not a “Few Bad Apples”

Think of how many lives have been destroyed of people caught in this vice—either maintain your innocence and spend months or years waiting for a trial that will almost certainly end in your conviction with long sentences... or plead guilty to false charges founded on police lies in the hopes of getting a lesser sentence.

Every step of the way, the legal system maximizes the punishment inflicted on Black and Latino people, especially the youth. It rewards the cops, prosecutors, and judges who carry it out. This is not an aberration; it is not a case of a “few bad apples.” It is this system that rules over the people working the way it’s supposed to.

STOP—GENOCIDAL PERSECUTION, MASS INCARCERATION, POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE!

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

From a Reader

BastaYa! Couple Killed by ICE Agents in California’s Central Valley

March 22, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Shortly before 7:00 am on Tuesday, March 13, Santos Hilario Garcia, 35, and Marcelina Garcia Profecto, 33, left their home in the city of Delano in California’s Central Valley. They were looking for work in the fields, picking crops that feed people throughout the U.S. and are the economic engine that drives the region. Within minutes they were dead—dead due to the actions of the modern day slave catchers of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

At this point all of the information we have about this incident comes from ICE and local police. No one should take at face value the word of these known liars. However, even their own words paint an ugly portrait of immigrants being hounded to their deaths.

When the couple got in their truck, they had no idea that their house was being watched. ICE admits that they were stalking someone else but that Santos “matched the description”—meaning that he was Latino. Soon Santos and Marcelina saw the lights and heard the siren.  Perhaps thinking that the stop was a routine traffic stop by local police, the couple pulled over.  Then, they saw the ICE agents step out of the car.  What went through their heads? Being separated from their 6 children? Losing everything that they had worked for? Being held in detention for months for the crime of looking for work? According to the ICE agents they sped off in their truck trying to escape.The ICE agents took off in pursuit.

The truck veered off the road, overturned, and hit a power pole. Santos and Marcelina were pronounced dead at the scene.

The couple leaves behind six children between the ages of 8 and 18. "The kids are very scared right now,” United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez said in a statement. “The oldest daughter is 18. She has a young child, just a few weeks old right now. She doesn't know what's going to happen to her siblings, to her brothers and sisters right now so they're all just trying to figure out, what are the next steps."

The ACLU of Southern California, said their organization has received reports from throughout the Central Valley of ICE staking out roads farm workers use to get to work and pulling them over in unmarked vehicles during early morning hours “without any lawful basis.”

Speaking directly to the deaths of Santos and Marcelina the ACLU said, “This horrible tragedy is a direct result of ICE’s inhumane tactics and the fear it provokes in hardworking people who stand to lose everything if they are deported.”

The deaths of Santos and Marcelina are not an isolated incident. Daily immigrants are being snatched from hospitals, schools, and courthouses. Mass raids are intensifying. All this is being organized by Trump and his regime and fueled by the vicious, racist lies being spewed out by the administration daily.  As Revolution wrote (March 12, 2018): “Make no mistake about it: what we are witnessing is nothing less than a fascist, white-supremacist ethnic cleansing program.”

During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the singer Bob Dylan wrote, “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” It is essential that people across the country—everyone with an ounce of humanity—see, confront and STOP these attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters. And this needs to become a force that can help drive the fascist regime from power.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/pigs-who-murdered-alton-sterling-will-face-no-charges-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

Louisiana Attorney General Rules:

Pigs Who Murdered Alton Sterling Will Face No Charges

Updated April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update, March 31

Almost two years after 2 Baton Rouge pigs murdered Alton Sterling, the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) released videos from the body cams they had. The same day, they announced that the cop who actually shot and killed Alton was being fired. This is not justice!

The videos the BRPD sat on for 21 months show how the two pigs assaulted Alton Sterling, slamming him into a car. The video shows Alton asking, “What I did?” to the pig Salamoni. It shows Salamoni grabbing Alton’s neck and shoving him onto a car. Salamoni said to Alton, “Put your hands on the car or I’ll shoot you in the fucking head,” He told his fellow pig, “Tase his ass.” Alton Sterling stood with his hands up. The pigs tased him, and he dropped to his knees.

When he struggled to get up again, Salamoni tackled him. The cops fired their guns, and Salamoni’s body cam lay on the ground for about 10 seconds. Then Salamoni asked Lake, his partner in murder, “Where’s the gun”—meaning the gun they claim Alton had. Lake answered, “It’s in my car. I got it.”

Alton Sterling lay on the pavement in a pool of blood, dying.

These cops need to be tried for murder. The authorities who kept these videos from the public need to be charged as accomplices for covering up a murder. There needs to be justice for Alton Sterling!

Jeff Landry, attorney general of Louisiana, announced on Tuesday, March 27 that the two Baton Rouge pigs who shot and killed Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, will face no charges. This is an unbearable outrage. There needs to be Justice for Alton Sterling!

Millions of people saw videos and TV reports of the Baton Rouge Police Department murdering Alton. They shot him six times at point-blank range, three in the chest and three in the back. Now, almost 21 months later, the state of Louisiana’s top “law enforcement official” declared that he “cannot proceed with the prosecution” because the police were making “a lawful arrest... based on probable cause.”

What does the legal system of this country consider “probable cause” for a cop to kill a Black man? Alton Sterling was in the parking lot of a convenience store where he often came to sell DVDs to provide for his family and himself. Shortly after the murder, the store owner told Revolution what he witnessed: “It was after midnight. I saw two cops pulling into the parking lot ... two cop cars. Well I decided to see what was going on. When I got out there they were already slamming Mr. Sterling on the car. They tasered him, tackled him onto another vehicle, and then that’s when it escalated to the officer shooting him.”

People in Baton Rouge Stand Up

The blatant, racist injustice of Alton Sterling’s murder by cop galvanized thousands of people in Baton Rouge. Protest in various forms continued for a month. In the first days after the murder, people held impromptu rallies in front of the Triple S store and marched through the largely Black north side. Youth and others continued to gather nightly at the store, often numbering in the hundreds.

Other youth began taking over streets outside the Baton Rouge PD headquarters, and at a convention center on the banks of the Mississippi. Cultural events protesting the murder were held at Louisiana State University, and thousands of people—mainly middle class people, Black and white—marched to the State Capitol. A memorial service for Alton in the basketball arena of Southern University, a historically Black college, drew thousands.

Police retaliated with threats and violence, especially against the youth. Hundreds were arrested. A lawsuit against the BRPD described how police continued to swarm, beat, and arrest people as they “proceeded down France Street towards East Boulevard in line formation across the road, with the armored vehicle, assault rifles, rubber bullet guns, gas masks, shields up, and what appeared to be a ‘long range acoustic device (“LRAD”),’ which creates a painfully loud transmission.”

A System of Injustice

In May 2017, the Federal Department of IN-justice (DOJ) gave its stamp of approval to the police murder of Alton Sterling. The DOJ ruled that the police acted “reasonably” and “legally,” and they brought no federal charges against the killer. Now the state of Louisiana has essentially ruled the same.

Think about this, and what it tells you about the system we live under. The pigs who murdered Alton Sterling claim he had a gun. One of them was sitting on him, his right hand was visible; clearly he was not holding a weapon when they murdered him.

At a vigil for Alton held at the convenience store Tuesday night after the Louisiana attorney general’s announcement, one participant posted on Facebook, “Baton Rouge, and the city of blood. They can kill us and it’s just ok with them.”

It’s not just Baton Rouge, it’s this entire country. Police wantonly and brazenly murder, and it is upheld by every level of legal review. This happens again, and again, and again. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Carlos Mejia. The painful list goes on and on—and it must STOP! Over and over, local, state, and federal courts have ruled that all murdering cops have to do is claim they “felt threatened”—and they are unlikely to even be charged, much less convicted. These murders are part of the constant terror carried out by the police against Black, Brown, and other oppressed people.

A system that does this over and over again is criminal, immoral and illegitimate. We need an actual revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism and bring into being a radically different society.

STOP—GENOCIDAL PERSECUTION, MASS INCARCERATION, POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/536/how-long-will-pigs-keep-murdering-and-walking-free-en.html

Revolution #536 March 26, 2018

From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

How long will pigs keep murdering and walking free? How long will they enforce this system with its murder, brutality and oppression?

UNTIL WE MAKE REVOLUTION TO GET RID OF IT!

Get With the Revolution Club and Start Getting Ready for Revolution

March 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Stephon!” “Clark!” The call and response resonating out of the streets of Sacramento wrenches our hearts with fury. Twenty shots. Twenty-two-years old. In his grandmother’s backyard. Black lives shattered, murdered, stolen. By police with a green light to kill. Again. GODDAMN! Stephon’s brother powerfully spoke out and called forward inspiring resistance, and people have poured into the streets of Sacramento day after day, righteously standing up and demanding justice. Shutting down a Sacramento Kings game, city hall, and the I-5 freeway. This is beautiful and needs to continue and spread.

At the same time, the blue-coated killers of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge are walking free. People rose up and rocked Baton Rouge—and all over the country, people took to the streets demanding justice. Alton Sterling was selling CDs outside a convenience store when the pigs came and slammed him on the car, threw him to the ground, and shot him while he was down, and they are not even charged with a crime.

We see it again and again. Just here in Chicago: Decynthia Clements in Elgin. For an hour, police surrounded her car while she was having a mental breakdown. She needed HELP. They knew she had a knife and no gun, but as soon as they got her out, they shot. GODDAMN! Justus Howell in Zion, 17 and shot twice in the back. No punishment. The pig who opened fire on Quintonio LeGrier, murdering him and his neighbor Bettie Jones? Nothing. Even after the review board said the cop should be fired, the police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, repeats proven lies from the killer cop justifying these cold-blooded murders.

These are the system’s bullshit “answers.” Civilian review boards that don’t mean shit. Body cams, federal and state investigations, independent prosecutors, voting in elected officials... what does it get us? Killer cops caught red-handed still walking free, more infuriating excuses, more families slapped in the face with “justifiable homicide.” And now the Trump/Pence fascist regime is straight up calling for “taking the gloves off” police, to “get tough” and execute “drug dealers.”

Does this mean we should not rise up and resist? NO. Resistance is righteous, necessary, and the only way to even get close to justice. But we have to look at the cold truth, and face reality in a scientific way. We have to take to heart the lesson from Bob Avakian, leader of the revolution, when he says:

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

Here’s another true statement from BA: “We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.”

A real revolution isn’t just protests or a general change. REVOLUTION means OVERTHROWING the system, defeating and dismantling its armed forces of violent repression through the conscious struggle of tens of millions of people. To be able to wage this struggle and WIN, we need to work now toward a revolutionary situation at the soonest possible time, by actively carrying out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win.

We in the Revolution Club are taking up BA’s leadership, the science and strategy for making revolution. The question facing you: to accept all this terror and brutality; to keep playing the fool to this system’s promises of reform; to keep killing each other in the senseless gangbanging they have set us up to do—or to dig deeper, get with the Revolution Club, and take up fighting for a better world.

To start, you can spread and post this leaflet, spread the quotes on the back from Bob Avakian that speak the TRUTH about the role of the police and what will really deal with this system. And watch and spread the word of the film from Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. Everyone needs to see this right now both to understand the depth of the danger we are facing right now, what can be done to face this, and to introduce many more people to this revolutionary leader.

Revolution Club Organizing Center
1857 E. 71st St.
312.804.9121
revclub.chi@gmail.com
@RevClubChi on Twitter and Facebook