Revolution #538, April 9, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #538 April 9, 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/avakian/film-trump-pence-regime-must-go/index.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

 

WHAT IS IN THIS FILM?

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 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.

WATCH THE FILM, CLIPS AND Q&As HERE.

WHO IS BOB AVAKIAN?

"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."
– Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the "new communism."

BOB AVAKIAN (BA) OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY HERE.


 


 

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Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

When the Criminal Poses As Victim...

Trump Unleashes Fascist Tirades and Military Force Against Immigrants

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter torrent of lies and venom against immigrants and refugees on a scale previously unmatched. Trump started his racist barrage on Easter Sunday, seizing on a caravan of some 1,000 refugees, including 700 women and children, making a 2,000-mile trek through Mexico toward the U.S. These are mainly people fleeing the misery and murder epidemic that the U.S. has spawned in Honduras.

Trump shamelessly twisted this courageous journey of oppressed people fleeing reactionary violence into a specter of an “army” of criminals, bent on rape and drug-dealing, rampaging toward the border. “We don’t know if they’re murderers, if they’re killers, if they’re MS-13,” he brayed to “a campaign-style rally” of supporters—aka, a racist mob—in West Virginia. “This is the kind of stuff and crap that we’re allowing into our country.”

To listen to the bald-faced lies of Trump and the fascist media, hordes of immigrants and refugees were descending on the U.S. to steal jobs and welfare, and get on DACA. (Never mind the fact that a person would have to have been in the U.S. 11 years ago to be eligible for DACA.)

The U.S. already has 21,000 Border Patrol agents, nearly 700 miles of border walls and barriers, along with high-tech sensors, aircraft and weapons. Yet Trump portrayed America as the defenseless, soft-headed victim. “We have no border, because we had Obama make changes ... that basically created no border.”

Reversing Right and Wrong in a Vicious Escalation

Here, right up front, two things need to be said: one, that the United States, far from being in any sense of the word an “aggrieved party,” has a 300-year history of imperialist plunder and predation that stretches from the tip of Chile to the Rio Grande. As part of this, it has sucked the blood from the immigrants from Latin America, super-exploiting them in jobs that native-born U.S. citizens won’t take and hounding them outside of work.

Now, Trump has taken this in a different and even worse direction. He rode to the presidency in part by demonizing and scapegoating immigrants, promising to drive them out of the country. Meanwhile, those who remain are even more deeply exploited. And he promised to even more viciously prey upon the nations of Latin America. In the last two weeks, Trump has doubled down on all of this.

Fascist Tweets, Fascist Assaults

Without exaggeration, Trump’s rampage equaled the racist, anti-Semitic venom spewed out by Hitler’s Nazis. Think about it: referring to human beings fleeing for their lives—from a disaster that the U.S. fundamentally created—as “crap.” And Trump backed up his hate-filled diatribes with a bevy of life-threatening assaults on immigrants and refugees that mark another serious lurch toward full-on fascism.

The pig went further. On Sunday he declared DACA “dead.” Mid-week he ordered 4,000 National Guard troops to “defend” the border, and National Guard units from Texas and Arizona are already being deployed. He also ordered that at least one new military base be built on the border.

Crossing the border has been a perilous journey for decades, as the U.S. rulers have deliberately forced migrants to travel through ever inhospitable deserts and mountains to reach refuge. As if this wasn’t bad enough, rabid anti-immigrant vigilantes and Border Patrol pigs deliberately empty or foul water that immigrant rights activists leave in the border deserts for the men, women, and children making this dangerous trek.

The result: since 1998, the remains of over 7,000 human beings have been discovered in areas near the border—and no one knows how many more died whose bodies were never found. Each of these people was intentionally murdered by the rulers of the U.S. who set this policy before Trump. But now, the Trump/Pence regime is turning the border region into an even deadlier killing field.

The Trump/Pence IN-Justice Department has also ordered that starting October 1, every immigration judge will be required to complete 700 deportation cases each year. This will greatly speed up deportation proceedings, effectively gutting the legal rights of many immigrants and refugees.

Meanwhile, the regime is making it far harder for people to claim “credible fear” of persecution or violence in order to gain refugee status, while making it easier to deny asylum applications—even for things like merely being accused of drunken driving.

Unaccompanied children will no longer be protected when they enter the U.S. but could be barred or promptly removed, while families can be detained for longer periods. ICE, Trump’s immigrant Gestapo, is already cruelly separating immigrant children from their parents.

And on Friday, April 6, Trump signed a memorandum ordering the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to “expeditiously end” the current practice of “catch and release,” which allows many undocumented immigrants to be released from detention while their cases go through the legal system. This in all likelihood will lead to a vast expansion of what is already the world’s largest immigrant detention system, with many thousands of immigrants locked up in hellholes where they can be treated as slaves. Trump’s order raised the specter of massive concentration camps, directing his agencies to provide “a detailed list of all existing facilities, including military facilities, that could be used, modified, or repurposed to detain aliens for violations of immigration law at or near the borders of the United States.”

Monster That’s Sucked Blood from Latin America’s Veins for Centuries Now Poses as the Victim

Donald Trump is the embodiment of the monstrous leech that is the United States, a leech that has sucked the blood out of the veins of the lands to the south for nearly 300 years. It has extracted mountains of silver, tin, copper, and oil. It has plundered and profited from sugar, fruit, beef, coffee, vegetables, and more. In 1848 it stole half of Mexico.

And what has the “greatest country on Earth” sent south, back to Latin America? It sends back bullets, misery, gangs, drugs, death squads, torture, and genocide. It organizes military coups, supervises death squads and torture, and carries out invasions. Trump claims NAFTA is Mexico’s “cash cow,” but it’s U.S. imperialism that has flooded Mexico with its manufactured goods and agricultural products, with disastrous consequences for the people. Cheap corn produced by big agribusinesses in the U.S., for example, and pouring into Mexico has driven millions of small farmers in that country off their land. It’s the U.S. that has built sweatshops from the U.S.-Mexico border to the southern tip of Latin America, exploiting tens and tens of thousands.

When people have rebelled against its predations, the U.S. has cruelly slaughtered them. In the 20th century alone, in just Guatemala, Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, and counting just some of the bloodiest instances of U.S. invasions, CIA subversion, and backing for military coups and paramilitary atrocities, the U.S. has been responsible for at least 434,000 deaths! And now the shit-headed Donald Rump claims the U.S. to be victims!!! (See the revcom.us series “American Crime” for numerous examples.)

Look at Honduras, the country from which most of the immigrants and refugees on the People Without Borders (Pueblo Sin Fronteras) caravan are fleeing. The U.S. has backed a series of military coups in Honduras and reactionary butchers, like the current president Juan Orlando Hernández, to rule over the people. The latest coup was in 2009, directed by Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Because of these machinations and overall U.S. domination, Honduras now has the highest murder rate in the world: “[T]he police and military themselves kill and beat people with impunity,” according to Human Rights Watch. Activists are executed by security forces. Honduras is one of the world’s poorest countries, preyed upon by imperialism for bananas, coffee, and cheap sweatshop labor. Hondurans work for very low pay while the foreign owners reap huge profits. Even young children are murdered by gangs or the state. (See “What’s Driving the Children of Honduras to Come to the United States?” and “American Crime Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras” at revcom.us.)

Now, when just a tiny bit of the humanity subjected to those horrors becomes visible in the caravan heading north, America’s predator-in-chief screams bloody murder—like a rapist lashing out at his victims for daring to speak up. Even worse, all this is a prelude and an excuse for taking U.S. crimes, oppression, and exploitation to a whole new, fascist level—bringing down and justifying even worse suffering, deprivation, ignorance, and violence.

Attacks on Immigration: Battering Ram and Leading Edge of Trump/Pence Fascism

After all this, those claiming that Trump hasn’t “accomplished” much of anything are engaging in sheer chauvinist self-delusion. It amounts to saying the lives of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and of the hundreds of millions living in countries the U.S. has turned into hell on earth, mean nothing.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rampage this week was a multifaceted assault, aimed at taking further leaps toward all-out fascism. Trump battered those within the ruling class who pose some obstacles. Even though they have quietly stopped even going through the motions of  defending immigrants, Trump still tweeted that “The Democrats stand in our way—they want people to pour into our country unchecked....CRIME!” He whipped up white supremacy and racism and pushed forward his “Make America White Again” agenda of ethnic cleansing, now focused on forcing out and deporting millions of immigrants. This is one key cornerstone of the full fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime.

And through all this, Trump went on the offensive ideologically to harden the hearts and dull the consciences of people in this country. To condition them to passively accept violence, abuse, and worse against “the other” and to tolerate monstrous crimes in the name of the “security” and “safety” of Americans, and its “laws and order.” In short, to cohere this society around a fascist ethos and fascist values.

Meanwhile, far too many people, the liberal media, and the Democrats continue to normalize Trump/Pence fascism, with its openly Nazi-like racism, by labeling it simply “nationalism” or “populism.”

The hour is getting very late. Now is one of those moments when everyone must decide where they really stand, what they’re really about, who they really are. On the side of the world’s most dangerous and murderous oppressors? Or on the side of the seven billion people on Earth who are increasingly threatened by this fascist regime? Those who stand with humanity need to act on that, with urgency!

 

 


 

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Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

50 Years After Martin Luther King’s Assassination...

And the Need for Revolution Is More Urgent than Ever

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King was assassinated as he stood on a motel balcony in Memphis. His murder came after a decade of struggle against the systematic injustices inflicted on Black people in the U.S. had polarized this society and reverberated across the world.

Powerful rebellions burst out in more than 100 cities. April 1968 marked a juncture in the upheavals of the era. As we wrote last week, many people “had to face up to the fact that they faced a vicious enemy that was ruthless—even against those who resisted peacefully. More people started considering radical and revolutionary ideas and strategies. They wanted to struggle—and win—against the rulers and their system.”

Much has changed since 1968—in the world, in this country, and in the situation of Black people in this country. Some concessions to the struggle against the oppression of the African-American people were made—and we’ll get to those.

But what has NOT changed is the need to overthrow this system if there is ever to be justice. That has NOT changed, and it will never change so long as capitalism—which in America grew up on the basis of white supremacy to the point where it is in the DNA and the sinews and bones and flesh of this society—remains in power.

What Has Changed, Part One

America made some reforms—but overwhelmingly it intensified oppression of Black people.

Because of the massive struggle and sacrifice of millions of people in the 1950s and ’60s, some things changed. Straight-up legal segregation and other aspects of Jim Crow laws that denied even the pretense of formal equality to Black people were abolished. Important changes in the culture and social and intellectual life among the people within the U.S. were fought for and, to a degree, achieved.

“Black presence” grew in the arts and intellectual life. Some oppressive relations where whites lorded it over Black people were challenged and overturned—even as this remains extremely contested. New scholarship was brought forward shining a light on the buried true history of this country and the conditions that people face today.

Material concessions were made to a section of Black middle-class people, who overall grew in numbers, and some opportunities for some sections of people opened up. The number of Black elected officials grew—from about 1,500 in 1970 to over 10,000 in 2010. But these concessions were designed to preserve and strengthen a system that oppresses all Black people, and to weaken and undermine the radical and revolutionary currents that had gained ground in the upheavals of the era. They promoted entrepreneurialism—the lie that “anyone who tries can make it” in a system based on exploitation of the many by the few. They promoted some Black faces in positions of authority while the structure of that oppressive authority—its police, its legal system, its prisons—remained intact. Even these double-edged concessions are now relentlessly under attack, with the vicious gutting of affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act.

But what has not changed is this: the underlying system has remained in place. So even among Black people who attained a degree of success, the deep oppression of this white supremacist system has continued to hit hard—including in outrageous and blatant forms. Ta-Nehisi Coates has powerfully written about one example of the random terror that can strike any Black person at any moment. He describes his college classmate, Prince Jones—the son of a doctor, a student at elite prep schools and college, never in trouble in his life. Prince Jones: 24 years old, gunned down by a racist cop who followed him across state lines and murdered him with 16 shots.

This systematic oppression takes myriad other forms as well. A recent study indicates that boys raised in wealthy Black households are more likely to live in poverty as adults than to remain wealthy—very few whites follow this trajectory. The housing crisis of 2008 contributed to a huge looting of wealth from Black and Brown families by major banks and financial institutions. By 2013 the net wealth of white people averaged 13 times that of Black people—the largest it had been in decades.

What Has Changed, Part Two

A Slow Genocide: 50 Years of Systematic Oppression of Black People that fits the United Nations definition of genocide.1

At the same time, far greater than the concessions made to the struggle against the oppression of Black people were the attacks against the Black masses. A partial list:

•  1960s—CIA-funded heroin flooded Black communities across the country. As the upheavals of the 1960s peaked, Black communities from coast to coast were hit with a “heroin epidemic,” as cheap heroin flooded in. Years later the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) brought heroin into the U.S. by the planeload from Southeast Asia was exposed.2

•  1980s—CIA-funded crack cocaine pumped into Black communities. In the early 1980s the price of cocaine in the U.S. dropped dramatically—because the amount of cocaine within the country rose enormously. By 1983 it had become a common “street drug,” as a new, cheap, and highly addictive form of cocaine appeared—crack. Agents working with the CIA sold tons of cocaine from South American countries in the United States during those years, and shipped the profits to fund the CIA-run army of murderous counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua. But people in ghettoes and barrios across the country were drawn into the drug trade in the inner cities, because this provided much needed income for basic necessities when there were no other economic options.

•  Mass incarceration of generations of Black and Brown youth begins. In 1982 President Ronald Reagan declared a “war on drugs.” This “war,” which was continued by both Presidents Bush and President Clinton, was a major force driving mass incarceration of Black and Brown youth. Prison population soared from 474,000 in 1980 to over 2.3 million today—by far the highest rate of incarceration in world history. The rate of incarceration for Black people is more than five times as large as for whites. In Maryland, 29 percent of the population is Black; 72 percent of state prisoners are Black.

•  Militarization of local police forces. The “war on drugs” was a central justification for the tremendous expansion of military tactical units (SWAT) by police across the country. Police frequently terrorized whole neighborhoods, kicking down doors and aiming assault rifles and other artillery at residents in mostly Black and poor neighborhoods. One example: in April 1987, the LAPD carried out “Operation Hammer,” with 1,000 cops invading South Central Los Angeles and arresting over 1,450 people in one weekend.3

•  Jobs leave the inner cities, mass unemployment soars: Industrial jobs in inner cities across the U.S. disappeared, as capital scoured the globe in search of the greatest profit. Between 1967 and 1987, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Detroit together lost over one million factory jobs.4 Unemployment soared, especially among young people in the inner cities. Unemployment of urban Black youth has at times reached over 50 percent in many cities.5

•  School Segregation increases since the death of MLK. Decades after a Supreme Court decision that supposedly outlawed segregation in schools, public education is actually getting more segregated, and some of the most “severely segregated” are in northern states like Illinois and New York6; in the South, the number of children in segregated schools is the same as it was in 1968.7 Black children are disproportionately concentrated in poor schools and districts.8

•  The AIDS epidemic ravages Black community disproportionately. The AIDS/HIV epidemic in the U.S. was first identified as being caused by a specific virus in 1982. The U.S. ruling class refused to deal with AIDS for years while the epidemic spread and took lives, disproportionately in the Black community (as well as the better-known toll it took among gay men). Black people are 12 percent of the overall population, but 44 percent of HIV-related deaths in this country are Black people.9 In 1984, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized that transmission of HIV could be reduced by organized needle exchanges—but in 1988 the federal government cut off funding for rehab programs that had needle exchanges! This genocidal practice of refusing to curb the epidemic continued until the opioid epidemic spread to white communities.

•  Police systematically provoke gang warfare. In cities across the country, police have used “gang violence” to condemn entire communities, and to justify their ferocious attacks on Black and Brown youth. But these same cops have provoked and instigated conflicts among the youth. In Chicago, police routinely took youths from one gang and dropped them off in neighborhoods where another gang lived, often leaving them there while they told the rival gang that the people they were leaving were snitches.10 In Los Angeles, after the righteous rebellion of 1992, the Crips and Bloods in South Central LA worked out a truce that suspended more than a decade of brutal and senseless fighting and killing among the people. Police moved hard to shut it down, breaking up unity meetings and parties of Crips and Bloods.

•  The demonization and punishment of Black women. From Ronald Reagan’s code-worded attacks on “Cadillac driving welfare queens” to Bill Clinton’s vow to “end welfare as we know it,” this system has made relentless attacks on poor, and often middle-class, Black women. This was aided by media reports that heaped slander and abuse on women, often Black women receiving welfare; Diane Sawyer of ABC said “these girls [young women on welfare] are ‘public enemy number 1.’” The federal government and state governments slashed welfare benefits, at the same time industrial jobs were vanishing and millions of women struggled to hold their families together. In 1995, the number of people receiving government assistance was about 13 million; by 2016, that number was three million.11

•  Massive evictions of families headed by Black women. Discrimination in housing has always been a hallmark of the oppression of Black people. A study of evictions and homelessness in Milwaukee concluded that “eviction can be thought of as the feminine equivalent to incarceration ... nearly 60 percent of the ... tenants evicted in Milwaukee between 2003 and 2007 were female.”12 Those women were overwhelmingly Black, and that same pattern repeats in cities and towns, large and small, across the country.13

•  An epidemic of police murder of Black youth. Thousands of Black people, especially young men but also women and older people, have been murdered by police in an ongoing epidemic and crime of this society. Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tyisha Miller, Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling—the painful list is endless. Rarely are the murderers even charged, much less convicted for any crime. This epidemic of murder and brutality also ravages the Latino and Native American communities.

•  Fines and imprisonment for being poor. Cities and towns across the country have instituted a system of heavy and escalating fines for people arrested on minor offenses, like vehicle violations, then imprisoning them for debt if they can’t pay the fines. In many places, like Ferguson, Missouri, these systems are a direct continuation of the Jim Crow system that once was the law. At any given time, about half a million people are in jail in this country because they can’t afford to pay bail.14 Forcing prisoners to pay for their own incarceration is increasingly widespread, and impacts Black people arrested on bullshit charges especially hard. In Macomb County, Michigan, prisoners must pay for room and board, work release, physicals, dental visits, medication, prescriptions, nurse sick calls, and hospital medical treatment.15

•  Inner-city schools turned into virtual prisons. By 2004, 69 percent of teachers in majority Black or Latino schools said they were patrolled by armed police.16 Seventy percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino, and children as young as six have been taken out of school in handcuffs.17

The fact is this: Despite the sacrifice and struggle, despite the concessions here and there paid for with blood, conditions for the masses have gotten worse. America is not, as Obama likes to say, constantly moving forward toward a “more perfect union.” It is a capitalist-imperialist system with white supremacy bred into its flesh and bone, continually adapting but never relenting. And now with Trump—with his constant demonization of Black people and his moves toward greatly heightened repression and worse, with his overall fascist program and his threats to annihilate all of humanity in global war and environmental destruction—this threatens to go to a whole other level.

Almost 200 years ago Karl Marx, the founder of scientific communism, wrote that capitalism’s beginnings—what he sarcastically called its “rosy dawn”—was based on genocide against the Native peoples of the Americas, enslavement of African peoples, the wholesale looting of the peoples of the Caribbean. Those origins have been seared indelibly into every aspect of capitalism, and have grown more intense as it developed into a global system of capitalism-imperialism. Global exploitation and immiseration of millions of people, including children; subjugation and subordination of entire peoples and nations, including Black people in the U.S.—these are the blood and marrow of the capitalist system. There will be no liberation as long as this system remains intact. (This has been deeply gone into in the works of Bob Avakian and in articles on revcom.us. See, for example: here, here, and here.)

But What HAS Changed, Most Important of All

Fifty years later, the situation for the Black masses has not changed for the better; this oppression has intensified... and threatens to get far worse.

But one thing has changed for the better. And that is this:

Now there is a truly scientific way to understand the roots of this oppression, the forces that keep it going, and the way to overcome it—as part of overcoming and abolishing all other forms of exploitation and oppression and destructive conflicts among the people, and emancipating humanity. This is the new communism of Bob Avakian (BA).

What HAS changed is that, through BA’s work, there is a strategy which could actually unite millions, throughout society, in a revolution that could WIN.

What HAS changed is that there is a vision, concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP, that shows how to overcome this oppression on the road to, and as part of, emancipating all humanity.

What HAS changed is that there is leadership, in Bob Avakian—who has forged a NEW understanding of communism and revolution for the whole world—and in the Party that is organized on the basis of this new communism.

Bob Avakian embodies a rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it accessible to masses of people.

The times are extreme and dangerous and there are no solutions to be found within this system. But there IS a way forward. As Bob Avakian has so powerfully and poetically put it:

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

 


1. Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (For full text click here)

“Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.”  [back]

2. See, for instance, The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by Alfred J. McCoy.  [back]

3. “The Raid That Still Haunts L.A.,” Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2001  [back]

4. When Work Disappears, by William Julius Wilson (Knopf, 1997) and The Origins of the Urban Crisis, by Thomas J. Sugrue (Princeton University Press, 1996)  [back]

5. “The Young Face of Inner City Unemployment,” New York Times, March 22, 1992.  [back]

6. “Brown at 62: School Segregation by Race, Poverty and State,” The Civil Rights Project, May 16, 2016.   [back]

7. “Southern Schools Are Resegregating,” CityLab, May 31, 2017 and “The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts,” Frontline, July 15, 2014.   [back]

8. “Report finds segregation on the rise,” Associated Press, May 17, 2016 and “Separate and Unequal?” U.S. Government Accountability Office, May 17, 2017. [back]

9. “Black Americans and HIV/AIDS: The Basics,” Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, February 6, 2018.   [back]

10. “Chicago Cops Dropped Off Uncooperative Gang Members in Rival Territory,” MassAppeal.com.  [back]

11. “The End of Welfare as We Know It,” The Atlantic, April 1, 2016.  [back]

12. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond.  [back]

13. “In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America,” New York Times, April 7, 2018.  [back]

14. “It’s a crime to be poor in America,” Market Watch, April 9, 2015.  [back]

15. “Paying for Your Time: How Charging Inmates Fees Behind Bars May Violate the Excessive Fines Clause,” Brennan Center for Justice, July 1, 2014.  [back]

16. “Police Officers in Schools: Effects on School Crime and the Processing of Offending Behaviors,” Chongmin Na & Denise C. Gottfredson, Justice Quarterly, October 3, 2011.  [back]

17. “How schools push black students to the criminal justice system,” German Lopez, vox.com.  [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/but-we-had-a-black-president-didnt-we-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

But We Had a Black President, Didn’t We?

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Yes, there was a Black president. And during those eight years Barack Obama consistently and significantly damaged the interests of Black people—and other oppressed people.

Widespread, powerful protests against the ongoing epidemic of the murder of Black and Brown youths rocked the country during Obama’s presidency. For his entire presidency, Obama consistently defended murdering police against the youth who protested them. This is no exaggeration. One example: he called youths protesting the murder of Freddie Gray “thugs,” but spoke nary a word to condemn the cops who killed him. Another: his Department of Justice supported the police in every case of police violence that came before the Supreme Court.

Obama continually chastised Black youth, and Black people generally, and blamed them for the oppression they face under this system. In a time of mass incarceration and criminalization of Black youth, Obama told the youth their problem was they didn’t take “personal responsibility”! Hundreds of thousands of Black youths in New York and other cities were subjected to stop-and-frisk, young people came of age in crumbling communities, police patrolled schools, communities were drained of jobs—and Obama wanted to preach at and mock them for their sagging pants. He told graduates of Morehouse College, an historically Black school, that “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices.” And “there’s no time for excuses.”

Who better than Barack Obama to get across this poisonous message and blame the youth for the system’s oppression?

When an avowed white supremacist went to a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and murdered nine Black people, Obama went to the church and actually said these murders were part of “God’s plan,” and that people in Charleston needed to learn the “power of forgiving.” In other words, accept and learn to live with the oppression of Black people—when what is needed is determined resistance to it, from all sections of people.

Obama presided over a period of a record number of deportations and a hugely militarized border. He ordered ten times the number of drone bombings that Bush did, hitting weddings and killing children in the name of America’s “war on terror.” The U.S. under Obama waged unjust wars on seven countries, and supported Israel in genocidal, criminal assaults on Palestinian people in Gaza. He promoted the poisonous idea that Black and other oppressed people should join the military and be part of going all over the world to kill other oppressed people in the interests of U.S. imperialism.

This is just a brief outline of some of the ways Obama made things worse for Black people. He benefitted from and promoted the deadly illusion that the United States—a country which has the nightmares of slavery, genocide, and horrific oppression embedded in its history, development, and current reality—had somehow become “color blind,” that “anyone can make it” in this country. This is not just tired, worn-out bullshit. It is deadly poison.

But here’s the worst thing about Obama. He’s serving to normalize Trump, the fascist. Trump, who has openly called for more police brutality, and has pledged his unwavering support for all acts of violence police commit. Trump, the white supremacist, who has stuffed his administration with longtime racists. According to Obama, he’s on the “same team” as Trump.

Look, Trump is deadly serious about accelerating the slow genocide that Black people have been facing. He heads a fascist regime that urgently needs to be driven from power—but Barack Obama says he’s part of Trump’s team. And he wants others to be there too. That’s aiding and abetting attempted genocide. People really need to throw away illusions about Obama. We are living in some seriously heavy times, and this is no time to cling to illusions of any sort.

Yes, we had a Black president. Now is a time to wage a serious fight for an end to the oppression of Black people, as part of the emancipation of all humanity.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/april-6-gaza-palestinians-again-courageously-face-israeli-bullets-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Friday, April 6, Gaza:

Palestinians Again Courageously Face
Israeli Bullets

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Friday, April 6, thousands and thousands of unarmed Palestinians, defying Israeli snipers, tanks, tear gas, and drones, again protested at the Gaza-Israel border. They demanded their right to return to lands stolen from them and an end to the cruel and crippling blockade imposed on them by Israel and Egypt—and to assert their humanity. Once again, Israel responded with tear gas and murderous live fire. Ten Palestinian protesters were killed and 1,000 were wounded, including seven journalists, bringing the toll since the beginning of the “Great March of Return” protests to at least 30 killed and the number of wounded and injured to 2,500.

Israel is an illegitimate settler state and outpost of Western imperialism, and its violence is utterly illegitimate and criminal.

The Trump/Pence regime has upheld Israel’s murderous assault on the unarmed Palestinians, literally blaming them for getting in the way of Israeli bullets: “We condemn leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters—including children—to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed,” declared a White House representative.

This is just one of the ways the Trump/Pence regime is escalating violence and tensions in a very volatile situation and a very volatile region. Palestinian protests are continuing and will culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the 1948 founding of Israel through the violent uprooting of three-fourths of the Palestinian population and the theft of their land. Palestinians mark May 15 as the Nakba—the “Catastrophe.”

This will be taking place around the time the U.S. is threatening to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and three days after the Trump/Pence regime may have pulled out of the nuclear deal it and other world powers agreed to with Iran. Both of these moves would mark a serious and dangerous escalation that will put millions of lives in jeopardy.

These crimes by the U.S. and Israel must be condemned, and the courageous resistance of the Palestinian people upheld!

 

Massacre in Gaza: Israel Opens Fire on Unarmed Palestinians—
15 Murdered, 1,400 Injured

Read more

 

 


 

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

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

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

“Wow!”

February 8, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader

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

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #538 April 9, 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]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/thoughts-in-light-of-THE-NEW-COMMUNISM-COULD-CHANGE-EVERYTHING-IF-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Thoughts in light of the "THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF..." article

April 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

INITIAL THOUGHTS/ORIENTATION:

I have been strongly influenced by Bob Avakian (BA) and the RCP throughout my political development, which has had many twists, turns, advances, and setbacks over the years. Ultimately it was not until a little over a year ago that I really became actively supportive and partisan to the new communism and the leadership of the RCP in making an actual revolution to emancipate humanity. There are other supporters in my area who I have worked alongside with in Refuse Fascism, and our efforts to contribute to its mission becoming a success takes up most of our time and energy. That being said, since then I kind of just read things on my own in a nominally systematic way, participate as a core organizer with Refuse Fascism in my area, send the occasional correspondence to Revolution/revcom.us, and spreading and discussing all this on various social media. I haven’t really given feedback on my work/development, but that should be changing to a degree after working out some plans to improve this with other supporters in my area. Also, we have arranged two screenings and discussions of sections of the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! DVD. I was left wishing that it could be like this all the time, or at least more often than the sporadic gatherings we have managed to make time for amidst all the shit going on in this country.

I also consider that I’m not subordinate to the Party’s Constitution, its discipline and standards, although I do aspire to be—and I try to take up aspects of it voluntarily to prepare myself. However, a lot of times my negative self-perception will keep me down (which in no small part is a reflection of this system’s culture and values), thinking I might not really be cut out to meet the Party standards. I have some individualistic tendencies that I think could only be fundamentally overcome by being involved in heightened collectivity with other supporters, and there are real objective limitations that prevent this from just being willed into being. To be clear, absolutely nothing said here should prevent doing the work needed to contribute as much as possible and keep my own theoretical and practical development advancing. 

“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.”

“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.”

There is a lot of urgency in the article, and for good fucking reason. The majority of people on the planet do not have an understanding of the situation that humanity faces, much less a grasp of the even basic fundamentals of the kind of science and scientific method we need to emancipate humanity and save the earth from ecological collapse. I recall the times when I really understood and felt the ruptures in my thinking and the journey I was being taken on as I further engaged with the new communism and the larger body of work of BA (and also especially the Demarcations journal). In my particular case, this was leading me out of the mire of Ajithism (a masterfully encapsulating term) that I had been trapped in for years. Breaking with the mass line, separation of communism and the labor movement (and the enriched critique of economism), solid core and elasticity (not just all solid core), emancipation of humanity—not “the first shall be last,” critique of the reification of the proletariat. These have been really transformational aspects of the framework brought about by the new communism that have developed my thought personally and continue to help situate me toward being scientific and shedding all kinds of epistemological blinders.

To bring this back in relation to the article, I want to echo its appeal to the ranks of the Party: don’t let it be the case that partisans outside of the Party you belong to are taking this more seriously and more critically engaging with it more than you are. Obviously this is still a problem, as this contradiction is one that the Cultural Revolution within the RCP is trying to address. As outlined in THE NEW COMMUNISM, “[...] there is a basis for this Party to be what it needs to be; and, as a key aspect of that, there are the forces—forces inside the Party, and others who are at this time still outside the Party—who want to fight to go forward on this road, and who need to be led to fight forward on this road, including new people coming into the Party.1 Really, get to work on resolving this contradiction—and it starts with those in the ranks of the Party who are supposed to be communists... actually being communists! It’s really fucking great for us all that this contradiction was even identified to begin with. Obviously the new communism hasn’t taken root like it needs to, but it has a little bit here and there, and it will continue to do so as more people are introduced to BA and the Party he leads through one or another initiative. If the “new faces” and “ones and twos,” like me and others who are being attracted to and are working to take up and spread the new communism, if we cannot be integrated and articulated into this Party (on the right basis—and being up to the standards of the Party’s Constitution), then we will bang on your doors until you do or else we’ll be tragically, needlessly squandered. I hope this letter helps those who aren’t seeing it to understand that there are indeed people out there who really give a shit about this.

Back to my own reflections on BA’s interventions and the model of revolutionary leadership that he concentrates—one thing I regret most in my political development is that unlike how BA consistently models for us an outstanding and necessary method and approach—I cannot say I have really begun to try to bring others along with me on this journey.2 In light of the barefoot doctor/Huxley orientation that is called for here, I often find myself taking the easy road of a basic barefoot doctor—which isn’t at all commensurate to my level of understanding. One obstacle is contending with the pervasive culture of snark within people of my age group. An aspect of my coming of age is—like many others—being steeped in internet shock culture, the kind of shooting-at-all-sides attitude where nothing is safe from being an object of abject mockery, this heart-numbing cynicism and inability to form healthy social bonds that comes from excelling at tearing others down. It took years to even regain basic humanity, like even a minimal sense of giving a damn about other people’s suffering outside of my own. The fact is that “for whom and for what” this is all about has not really been integrated into my consciousness, so being afraid to say something stupid or fearing the intense ridicule that will at some point come from going out into the world with BA and the new communism earnestly is still a heavy pull. It’s another one of the multitude of ways that people are torn down and tear themselves down under this rotten system of capitalism-imperialism. In areas without things like Revolution Clubs or Revolution Books, in situations where supporters may be scattered from each other and face objective limitations that prevent greater collectivity—it’s hard to take this out if you don’t fully sense that you’ve got a strong core of people who can back you up through it all—while also understanding that even if you don’t have that (in the case of lone supporters out there)... goddammit someone has to do this if there’s any hope for the world to be transformed.

“[...] 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.”

GRAPPLING WITH OTHER SUPPORTERS:

On the point that if the new communism doesn’t take root, “there really is no point to any of the other things we do,” I was taken aback by this. Like damn, really? There’s no point to any of the work and initiatives? A supporter brought up that in the formulation “Fight the Power, Transform the People, for Revolution,” it’s the “for Revolution” that is the decisive component that the other components are in relation to.

On the point that “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.” I initially felt a bit of outrage, my thinking was that these people better mean the literal annihilation of all humans that compose the movement for revolution, and not for a second that giving up is an option. This is probably the result of not having a fully formed understanding of what is meant by the statement “what is represented by Refuse Fascism”—since my first thoughts are “why would we give up if the consolidation of fascism fails by some other means unforeseen by us or mainly outside of our conscious initiative?” Perhaps a little more clarity on this “what is represented by Refuse Fascism” point would have cleared up any whiffs of defeatism—a clearer picture of what it could mean concretely for the movement for revolution if fascism is consolidated in the U.S. Some supporters I spoke with helped me explore different dimensions when I brought this up, but overall I was urged to compose my thoughts and send this letter.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

I wonder how BA’s interventions could still “bear fruit” if we don’t succeed in the core mission? Future generations would dust off the tomes that were buried as the movement was forced underground? Maybe one dimension of this, a more optimistic one, is that there are people who are fighting for the new communism to take root in other countries. I do think that these efforts should be propagated more widely. Articles from A World to Win News Service are often buried at the bottom of the Revolution newspaper current issue page on the website. Frankly I don’t think this is appropriate, these developments are not only important in their own right and have implications for us here as well as the world generally, but are also downright inspiring.

GOING FORWARD:

Ultimately the article is a welcome jolt of urgency with the calm scientific certitude that will be continuously needed. It doesn’t pull any punches and there’s no bullshit. Even with my confusion and anger at some parts, I fundamentally agreed and felt the need to reassess how much I’m contributing in light of how much I could contribute to this mission.

 


1 Bob Avakian, “The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP” from THE NEW COMMUNISM, p. 318 (Insight Press, 2016) [back]

2 This particular article from Lenny Wolff was pivotal in my study of the new synthesis of communism and helped me gain a concrete vision of how we should model ourselves. “On the Revolutionary Road with Chairman Avakian“ [back]


 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/watching-getting-into-bob-avakian-film-with-people-active-with-refuse-fascism-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Watching and Getting Into the BA Film with People Active with Refuse Fascism

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

We wanted to share some comments and reactions of different people active with Refuse Fascism who watched the film of the talk by BA and/or the Q&As and the trailer:

“There needs to be a transformation in people’s thinking…”

A Jewish woman in her 60s, a very spiritual, progressive-radical feminist and a member of NOW:

She grapples with her own responsibility and role in bettering the world, in the face of a real disgust, and bitterness, at the oppression of women and more broadly, including environmentally. During the course of a meeting we watched BA’s Q&As on “minorities have been in not a very favorable situation...” (Part 2) and also “If successful in driving out...” (Part 1).

Off of watching these excerpts, she began by asserting her certitude that Trump/Pence are “fascist and illegitimate,” as she put it. On the issue of the attacks on immigrants, she had been paying close attention, commenting that “I know people are being scooped up, in front of schools, in the Central Valley....” And she openly wrestled with the sacrifice that is being called for in the talk.

She said that BA “is right, his analysis is pretty much on target.” “The GTF, I agree with it” (she’d remembered that as she’d seen the film at a previous showing). She later said, it is true, “people are being raped and exploited.” And then a theme in her thinking during the discussion: “I have to do something about that... but is there enough of me to do it? He is talking about necessity, transformation, and the stakes for oneself.” “Part of me feels like I have already sacrificed; I never had a marriage, 2.65 kids, a two-car garage, a $700,000 home, and a reversible mortgage... I’ve run out of love, loyalty and there is a part of me that I think is blameless.”

We put forward there is a place where knowing the truth about something and being a moral human being meet and issues of “order, even fascist order, versus justice.” She said that she does understand “humanity is fraying.” She said people like “the coffee, the chocolate and honey...”—they like this world. We talked about what it would take to break through with millions to drive out this fascist regime. 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.

She reiterated that she wants to do her share, but raised she felt like “revolution is impossible to do without violence.” It became clear she was confounding driving out the Trump/Pence regime with revolution. So, off of this we watched the BA Q&A segment on “If successful ... who will step in to take the reins?” which deeply tackles these issues. We were able to discuss the difference between the two, and also explore BA’s insight about even if Trump/Pence is driven out and there isn’t a revolution, there is the importance of the masses in their millions having done that and having the initiative.

This 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. She brought forward some of her Eastern philosophy in the context of this discussion. Maybe most importantly, she said she thought that “just as important as food, clothing, and shelter” are questions of art, poetry, and beauty, which I agreed with. At the same time, her reasoning for thinking society is this way has to do with men being in charge and “the mayhem that results.” She laid out a vision of uprooting women’s oppression that was rooted in “women getting paid and being in an equal place.” We have encouraged her to read the Break ALL the Chains! compendium of BA’s writing on this crucial question. At the end of this meeting, along with the new call and new plan for Refuse Fascism, we gave her a copy of the interview with Ardea Skybreak, Science and Revolution.

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.

***

“The opioid of entrepreneurialism…”

Someone who was inspired as a teenager in Colorado by the Black Panther Party, the struggle of Black people in the U.S., and the antiwar movement as well as environmentalism in the ’80s, working in the local school district doing construction

We watched the BA Q&A on minorities... and some of the promotional segments, the trailer.

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,” said hip hop is Black culture and there can be an entrepreneur trend in that, but they’ll never suppress it totally, and isn’t it telling 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.”

Taking off from BA’s discussion of driving out the regime requiring sacrifice... he said, “Risk is a question... this does call for sacrifice—people feel outnumbered and outgunned... but one way to approach this is to never forget the people who have made sacrifices, people who have had a profound effect on people, including the Black Panther Party, as well as MLK and Stokely.”

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.

***

Understanding “why people are afraid…”

A 50-year-old Chicana nurse who joined with Refuse Fascism after Charlottesville but stepped back after November 4—while life got in the way, she was very frustrated with the turn out for November 4

Most of the meeting was spent watching BA film—the trailer, some segments, and the Q&A on minorities have not been in a favorable situation, plus how is it possible to maintain a movement of that scale for a long period of time? So, we only had a short period of time to talk, as we kept on with watching it as she said “keep going.”

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” and said her biggest fear is ICE sweeps. I told her that is real and already happening, but also raised to her there is a threat of nuclear war. She said yes and said, “If the U.S. attacks [North] Korea, how many would die? It is about whose lives matter. The president, the VP, the Congress... they’ll survive but what about everyone else? Right now police are killing more Black people. I was reading about a youth saying, ‘I was always told I would not live past 18.’ This is fucked up if that is the norm! But then another Black man is killed by the police. 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.”

She explained there isn’t health care in the rural areas, not clean water or health care, but they bulldoze the Earth. She reiterated that it is outrageous that “immigrants are scapegoats and can’t defend themselves.” “The wall... what the fuck... that gets to the future to come....”

She said the film helped her to understand “why people are afraid.” “Even under slavery people wouldn’t necessarily join [the Underground Railroad]. Today people may say ‘I agree Trump/Pence should go,’ but they are afraid to get involved ... and then the Democrats....”

She talked about Pelosi and Schumer, and we had a brief but important back-and-forth on the objective role of the Democratic Party leadership. We briefly got into this, and it was part of her grasping what was in that segment we watched and underscored the principal challenge we confront.

***

Is the U.S. a Force For Good?

A Black 84-year-old woman prominent in an AME church who has seen the film within the past several weeks

Her comments, though she said that it would take more thinking and maybe seeing it again, were, “It’s all so very real and true.... I can’t say anything particularly stood out to me... it’s obvious, but it is amazing that people aren’t talking about the need for Trump and Pence to go.”

She said BA “was right-on with it.” 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 also said that President Johnson said “this is hurting us abroad in other countries.” We spoke about how Johnson didn’t say that the oppression of Black people was a horror and needed to be stopped and be over; no, he was concerned about the U.S. and how it looked in the world. We got into how this oppression does have to stop and she said “this has to stop.”

We also discussed there is something to learn from this, and I was driving her to the new Refuse Fascism Call to Action in this regard, including the section in it on what the struggle of tens of thousands can accomplish, including where it says this struggle will shake millions awake and “the international credibility of the regime will be undermined” and can be one of the dimensions that leads to a serious crisis in government and society. We also talked about what she saw on PBS, and what was in the BA talk about this long history of oppression—that it was, in her words, “being summoned up by Donald Trump—these are the demons he is summoning...” in relation to white lynch-mob-ism.

We had an important back-and-forth on two issues: what is holding people back (the widespread disgust and hatred, yet still people go about their lives essentially) and the role of the Democratic Party. She was saying “it’s unbelievable,” but we got into how we are not “baffled” by this, we have a working knowledge of the terrain that we have to change with this work and the difference between just waiting for November to vote and protesting in the streets. 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.

***

Risks, Sacrifice and Decisions

An Episcopal pastor

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.

***

“What’s it going to take for people in the room to take up Refuse Fascism?”

From a reader:

We showed the film recently at a small discussion group. It was a very diverse group; the coordinator, four other older activists who are part of the group, a young Black man who recently graduated from an area university and is also in the group, a couple of Central American immigrants and the coordinator’s son.

The overall hit of the group to the Talk was very positive. It’s anecdotal but a number of people commented appreciatively when Bob Avakian (BA) broke down how the U.S. Constitution legalized rape—or laughed during the examples BA gave of the GTF (Great Tautological Fallacy). At the same time, there were others who had never thought about this contradiction in this particular way.

The first question that jumped out after the Talk was around the point BA makes about the ability of the regime to absorb all the acts of resistance and a frustration—especially on the part of older activists—about the inability to break out of the confines of the Democratic Party politics and the normalization of this regime. The March for Our Lives was still fresh in people’s minds and, in a large nearby city, it seems that a Democratic congressman had been one of the featured speakers where there is all this support expressed for the kids and then everyone is told that once they get the Republicans out of control in the Congress, we can get real gun legislation. The leader gave another example of a local group that had come together around defense of the undocumented, had started out initiating some very important measures including emergency hotlines to organize people to prevent ICE from arresting people, but how it had quickly devolved into a vehicle for promoting “progressive” Democratic Party candidates and local resolutions.

It was a challenge that, while there was this clear anger at the Democratic Party’s collusion with the regime, directed at individual Dems, some of the very same people raising this wanted to take the discussion right back into reformist democratic politics—following the right’s lead by trying to build a grassroots movement to take over school boards, etc.

At the same time, some of the older activists tended to veer away from the content of the Talk into a more general political discussion, so I had to redirect the conversation back to the Talk on a couple of occasions—and in this instance back to how BA parsed out the ability of the regime to “absorb” individual acts of resistance. I pointed to the war the regime had unleashed against California—unleashing ICE, having the Justice Department file suit against the state, unleashing this massive negative media campaign. And I used the analogy of people totally engaged in local organizing as being like someone putting storm shutters on their beach homes as a tsunami rolled in. The shutters might work for a normal storm—even a low-grade hurricane but not a tsunami—going back to the point that there are lots of people attempting to act on different social issues but that none of it will amount to anything if we are not able to prevent this regime from consolidating power.

The young Black guy, “M,” broke into this at some point and posed that, while he thought the efforts of some groups, including developing an “underground railroad,” were laudable, the Talk was actually arguing for a different approach to organizing against the regime. He continued that we had to understand that we were going up against the most powerful military in the world and that this regime was increasingly wielding this military against the people, whether through ICE or other armed enforcers. So he didn’t think that trying to direct discussion into how to take over local grass-root initiatives was productive. “This is a national problem. The response has to have a national character to it.” He also wanted to circle back to a couple of points in the Talk that he thought were important. The first was BA’s analysis of liberals and the “GTF” (and the point BA makes about how a lot of these folks are gambling that if they sit tight, nothing will happen to them or their loved ones); the other, BA’s call at the end for reaching out broadly but from the perspective of doing so firmly rooted in his communist outlook.

I will come back to the first point, but on the second, M 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.

One of the older activists, “E,” expressed agreement with M and said that what he saw BA doing in the speech was akin to what should have been happening in Germany in 1933-34; a “United Front.”

In the context of this discussion, I wasn’t able to dig as deeply into this contradiction as I wanted to, and I am not sure where everyone was coming from. I think there was some thinking that what we were talking about in reaching out broadly was “uniting the left.” At one point, M said he thought the apparent resurgence of the DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] was another positive indicator because he saw the DSA as a “non-denominational” group that anyone could join, including someone in the RCP. I raised our experience in going out to everyone from faith leaders to union reps to local city and state representatives, as well as activists in “Our Revolution” and Indivisible to struggle for coming together to demand the “Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” as well as the “March for Our Lives.”

On the question of (white) liberals, M mainly expressed his frustration—that you could mobilize them to come out for a day around “gun violence in schools” but have the police shoot a Black person or have someone next door arrested by ICE and these liberals wouldn’t lift a finger.

“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? We talked about how we waded into the March 24 demonstrations, the basic orientation of RF—standing with the youth but also challenging them to join in taking responsibility for the violence this system and this regime visits upon the people in so many different ways, contesting the dominant position of “voting” and that one of the main ways we tried to “intervene” was through broad promotion of the Talk.

There was back and forth over how the horrors of the regime have been “normalized” but, at the same time, how this system continues to drive people into political life (look at how Parkland had brought youths out into the streets) and what RF needed to do was both continue to project itself out into society, while also being prepared to move at a moment’s notice in response to the unfolding horrors of the system.

The installation of the Trump/Pence war cabinet weighed heavy on the minds of everyone there but especially the older activists, who both know something about Bolton, Pompeo and Haskel, as well as how this government had used initiating and engaging in war as a critical tool in suppression of domestic resistance and are a little freaked by the possibilities that Bolton will push Trump into resolving the Korea/Iran issues by pre-emptive strikes that will also allow them to go openly after the resistance.

At the end, “Eu,” one of the older activists, asked what should they be doing? The takeaway was: read, endorse, contribute to and circulate the Call, start following the RF website and, even if you don’t form an RF chapter, start taking up calls like RF’s Call for March 1 actions in support of the undocumented, and go to revcom.us to watch the entire talk and Q&As, as well as to learn more about the movement for revolution, the American Crime series. Circulate this Talk and communicate your questions, thoughts, disagreements, and suggestions.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/thoughts-and-questions-from-a-reader-in-kansas-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

After Watching the BA Film:

Thoughts and Questions from a Reader in Kansas

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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 [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/rev-frank-wulf-on-the-bob-avakian-film-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

On the Bob Avakian Film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!...
From Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, Calif.

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/the-bob-avakian-institute-program-series-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

The Bob Avakian Institute Program Series

At a time when the world cries out for a radical and fundamental alternative to the current order...

There is a NEW Communism...and this could change everything.

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Millions flee from country to country, drowning or shot down or starving as they run… genocides and the threat of genocide in every corner of the planet… the trajectory toward environmental destruction accelerates… and fascist regimes consolidate themselves all over the planet, including within the U.S. Even in the face of struggle and protest—the oppression of Black and other oppressed peoples, of women, of immigrants, of LGBTQ people intensifies, with threats of much, much worse.

The brave new world of globalization and "the end of history," the supposed triumph of a reformed capitalism with a human face, has brought us here—to the age of Trump and Pence. Yet there IS an alternative to the twin dead-ends of the outright fascism rising around the world and the "neoliberal" capitalism (or its more polite cousin "democratic socialism"), which both enforce the exploitative system of capitalism-imperialism.

Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But without the necessary scientific theory and leadership on that basis, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on.

In the face of this huge need, the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian has brought forward a new synthesis of communism—a new communism. Bob Avakian is the most radical revolutionary on the planet—someone who has been leading struggle against this system and developing revolutionary theory, especially at key junctures, for nearly 50 years. This new communism represents and embodies the scientific understanding and approach the masses of the oppressed need to make the revolution they need—a revolution whose ultimate goal is a communist world—to emancipate themselves and ultimately humanity as a whole.

As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis of communism—

represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

ANNOUNCING A SERIES OF MAJOR PROGRAMS ON THE NEW COMMUNISM

Beginning this Fall and extending through the Winter, The Bob Avakian Institute will sponsor major programs on this new communism. We are inviting people from all viewpoints who have engaged Bob Avakian's work to submit papers or apply to be discussants on the topics below. The sole requirement is serious, honest engagement with this work.

Some of the topics we intend to focus on include:

At a Time When the Very Notion of Objective Truth Is Under Attack from Both Right and Post-modern "Left"… How Do We Know What Is True and Why Does It Matter?

Even among the most progressive, the framework of "standpoint epistemology"—the assumption that truth is determined differently for each individual or specific oppressed grouping and that analysis of the overall and most determining dynamics of society is "totalizing," oppressive, and necessarily too incomplete to be accurate—holds sway. The new communism by contrast maintains that it is both necessary and possible to make an objective scientific analysis of any given society—the main dynamics that drive it forward, the relations between different contradictions within a society, and, most crucially, the underlying and most determining causes of oppression and the path to emancipation.

In waging this struggle, Bob Avakian has upheld and carried forward the gist of Marx's scientific breakthrough, but he has also ruptured in significant ways with problems of past communist methodology, including positivism and empiricism, religiosity and teleology, and reification of oppressed groups (including the notion that specific forms of consciousness are inherent in specific social groups and the individual members of those groups). In particular, he has radically advanced what the search for truth has to do with getting free, to a world beyond "might is right," beyond antagonistic social divisions, oppression and exploitation. All of these dimensions will be explored.

Can the Problems That Plague Humanity Today Be Solved Through Reform of Capitalism? Or Is Revolution Necessary?

Is there something intrinsic to capitalism that not only gives rise to horrors like the threat of nuclear war, the plunder of the environment, the systematic oppression of whole nations, nationalities and "races," gender oppression, and the worldwide persecution of immigrants and refugees, but also makes their elimination impossible within that system? Or can reforms fundamentally solve these problems? Bob Avakian has taken the pathbreaking insights of Marx and Engels on this further. Avakian's analysis of the compulsive dynamics of the capitalist mode of production, as well as how it relates to relatively discrete and historically evolved social contradictions, such as the oppression of women and the oppression of minority nationalities, marks a leap beyond previous communist theory and experience—both in analysis of these interconnected relations, the problem, and the solution, what it will take in revolutionary processes to get beyond all of them.

In a highly integrated world, how is communist revolution a world process, and what is the relation between (and contradictions inherent in) making revolution and advancing socialism in one country, overcoming exploitation, inequalities and oppression, and at the same time supporting revolution worldwide? In a country like the U.S., atop "the international food chain," how does communist revolution help break down the lopsidedness between the "first" world of imperialist countries and the "third" world of oppressed nations? The new communism carries further and in crucial ways breaks with previous conceptions and experiences.

Can There Be a Society On the Road to Eliminating Exploitation, Social Inequalities, and Oppression Which Also Has an Unprecedented Level of Dissent, Debate, and Experimentation?

Even the best of the previous socialist revolutions did not fully have the right synthesis of these two great needs of what would be a society truly on that road. Bob Avakian's Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, an application of the new communism, poses not just a thought-through and affirmative answer to this—but a real breakthrough. It is the concretization of over 40 years of work on this problem. What social contradictions does this Constitution address, how does it do this, and does it provide—as stated—the visionary and concrete blueprint for a transition to a world without the oppression of one section of people by another? As a critical component of this: Avakian's concept of "the solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core."

Is a Real Revolution—the Seizure of State Power—Possible Within the U.S.? Is It Desirable?

The dream of revolution that animated the most advanced political movements of the 1960s is now widely thought to be impossible. The argument, in brief, is that the powers-that-be are too strong, the middle class is too well-off, and the people most directly in need of such a revolution, who should be inclined in that direction, are caught up in other things right now and would be isolated and outnumbered even if they were to want to act. There is a further argument that any such revolution leads to disaster in the form of revolutionaries going off-track, including becoming oppressors themselves in the course of fighting this system. Bob Avakian has developed deeply considered and scientific answers to these questions.

On the Absolute Necessity for—and Problems Inherent In—Leadership: What Is To Be Done?

A leaderless social movement is possible, but the much-touted leaderless revolution is impossible. Yet successful revolutions have been defeated, such as in China and the Soviet Union, with sections of leadership "going bad." Why does this happen, and how should we deal with this? Why do you even need leadership, what is communist leadership, and what is the right way to conceive the relationship between leaders and led, a thorny contradiction for this era? Avakian's new communism comprehends a different synthesis and conception than in the past revolutions, charting a different process towards communism.

* * *

Bob Avakian's new communism is based on nearly 50 years of theoretical work and participation and leadership in the struggle for revolution. This new communism provides answers to the questions above and a framework for further exploration. Given the centrality of those answers to the fate of humanity, this new synthesis needs to be engaged, discussed and debated. We invite you to be part of doing so.

First program: Fall 2018, New York

 

If you are interested in submitting a paper or abstract, but have not yet read Avakian's work, we suggest The New Communism—The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation. Go here for suggested readings on the topics above.

 

To submit a paper or abstract for consideration, or for more information, write to programs@TheBobAvakianInstitute.org

Advisory Board in formation. if you are interested in volunteering for the Program Committee write to programs@TheBobAvakianInstitute.org

 

The Bob Avakian Institute is a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Its mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/barefoot-doctoring-in-a-coffee-shop-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

From a reader

"Barefoot Doctoring" in a Coffee Shop

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This morning I went out to a neighborhood coffee shop near a local university, which is one of several in the area that I keep pretty stocked with materials from Refuse Fascism and revcom.us. A lot of these places have little free libraries in them, and some time last year I put a copy of BAsics there on a whim. I stop by fairly regularly and would notice that it was gone sometimes, then back again later, but I hadn’t seen it in quite some time so I wondered if it was still in rotation.

Today, however, I sat down and noticed that a young Black man (I’m unsure if he is a student or not) sitting next to me had been reading the copy of BAsics that I left there while he was waiting for a friend. I introduced myself and told him about the book’s journey, and he showed me how he had been taking pictures of quotations to share & go back to later. In particular, he said 1:5 had stuck out to him:

It is not uncommon to hear these days, from government officials and others, that only 1 percent of the population is in the U.S. military but that this 1 percent is fighting for the freedom of the other 99 percent. The truth, however, is this: That 1 percent, in the military, is in reality fighting for the other 1 percent: the big capitalist-imperialists who run this country—who control the economy, the political system, the military, the media, and the other key institutions—and who dominate large parts of the world, wreaking havoc and causing great suffering for literally billions of people. It is the “freedom” of these capitalist-imperialists—their freedom to exploit, oppress, and plunder—that this 1 percent in the military is actually killing and sometimes dying for.

Bob Avakian

The leadership we have for an ACTUAL revolution

Click here to Get into BA!

He was starting to break down the distorted meaning of the concept of “freedom,” and we talked about how Americans can be really bedazzled by this word and get tricked by those in power to go along with the horrendous shit that they’re responsible for.

Our brief conversation ended after his friend showed up. He showed her some quotes as she started to pick it up, and then they started catching up together on other things. So that it wouldn’t end there, I wrote down my email address on a copy of a Refuse Fascism flyer that was on a stack nearby. I handed it to him and told them both that there’s a group of us here that learn from, organize and fight the power on the basis of BA’s leadership and works like the one they were reading, and right now that means fighting to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. He said he’d check it out and hit us up, and I really hope he will, but at this point the fate of the follow-up is left to spontaneity on his part, and communists know that spontaneity is not on our side.

It was pretty cool up to that point, and I wasn’t trying to overwhelm them (but my excitement was probably obvious). Some missed opportunities would be asking him why he picked it out of all the others on the shelf, why that quote stuck out to him in particular, what he thinks about it more deeply, finding out what he does/is passionate about in general, actually getting his contact info rather than relying on him to follow up, how to tie it in to what needs to be done now, etc. I’d never been in this position before, so I did my best to try and guide things in the right direction without being overbearing. But at the same time, I know we should be boldly taking this out and who cares if we come across as awkward or intense—because this is about changing the world for real, and for the better.

It’s really invigorating to see that people are seeking out answers to their burning questions about the world, that they want to understand the world, that for some people out there things are “up in the air” to an extent. Walking away from this, my main feeling was that we really need a Revolution Club here to have a place where this is all being taken up scientifically and to really develop strategic commanders. Doing things individually is just sloppy, and it’s a bit of a problem to run into this kind of unevenness where someone may get into all this from an appreciation of BA and the method/approach of New Communism during a time when this actually has to be developed in the context of building Refuse Fascism and carrying forward its critical mission as the principal aspect of the overall strategic orientation during this period.

Nonetheless it was exciting to see that this little experiment on getting out BAsics from months ago would eventually lead to a chance conversation with potential for more—and to wonder who else had wrangled with what was inside and how it might have affected their view on the world.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/this-nightmare-must-end-the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

New Call to Action From Refuse Fascism:

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

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

April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We are horrified and angered at the shocking damage already done to lives here and around the world by the Trump/Pence regime. We recognize that they are poised to do far worse, including threatening WAR, even nuclear war. Through an unrelenting barrage of daily outrages and Twitter outbursts, the Trump/Pence regime is radically remaking society—step by step hammering into place a vicious American fascism. This is not insult or exaggeration, it is what they are doing.

Therefore, WE RESOLVE that nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare.

There is a way to do this. To do so,we must cast aside illusions and self-delusions:

All too many people think and act as if what we face is just the worst of pendulum swings between Republicans and Democrats. NO! This regime, if left in power, will effect a thoroughly reactionary restructuring of society.

If we think that the normal processes of the 2018 or 2020 elections, or the Mueller investigation will, by themselves, redress the situation that humanity faces, we are not understanding the determination of these fascists in power to shatter norms—even though they have been doing so for over a year.

If we think that the heightened activism of the past year, either by itself or together with the elections will stop this regime, we are missing how much harm this regime has already done, absorbing individual protests as it rapidly moves its agenda forward on multiple fronts.

If we are not as outraged and motivated to act today as we were right after the election, we are on our way to accepting a great horror that builds daily. If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, do not ask how the German people could have accepted Nazism in the 1930s.

An American Fascism

We must not reassure ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. It is. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny—”America First”—wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

This regime denies truth and objective evidence, and yet it has its hands on the most powerful military and nuclear arsenal in history and is preparing and threatening to use it! Millions of immigrants live in terror fearing their loved ones will be ripped away. People’s humanity is viciously denied. Women are poised to lose the right to abortion. Trump and Sessions have instructed police to “take the gloves off,” further brutalizing people of color. LGBTQ rights recently won are under assault. Damage done to the environment by this regime in just 14 months could be irreversible.

Fascism rules by organized repression and terror by the government: civil liberties are stripped away, law re-written, dissent criminalized, the courts packed with fascists, and the separation of powers and of church and state ultimately eviscerated. As part of radically remaking society, the Trump/Pence regime must sharply attack those in positions of power who oppose them. Fascism also mobilizes mobs of vicious thugs as we’ve seen with Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Trump/Pence Regime has not yet been able to implement their full program. But they are advancing. It might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer.

Don’t Normalize... Don’t Accommodate... Don’t Conciliate... Don’t Collaborate...

People all over the world are counting on us to STOP this nightmare. The different strains of fascist demagogues and movements in this country see in Trump and Pence their “last chance” to achieve their reactionary program. They will not listen to facts or reason; they have already and will continue to change rules, manipulate elections, and they will not give up.

The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this. They are about maintaining order for their whole set up. For them, order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism. After Trump’s election, President Obama said of Trump, “We are all on the same team... We are now all rooting for his success.” NO! If Trump succeeds, it will be catastrophic!

But there IS another way. A different kind of protest. We need to organize now for the time when we can launch massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country—protests that continue day after day and don’t stop, creating the kind of political situation in which the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power is met.

Everyone who recognizes that the Trump/Pence Nightmare Must End is invited to join in and prepare for launching this great act of sustained resistance.

Imagine tens of thousands beginning in several cities and towns, with marches, candlelight vigils, rallies—students, religious communities, immigrants, everyone with a heart for humanity in the streets and not backing down—growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The whole world will take heart.

This will shake millions awake, with many losing their adjustment to life under this regime. The international credibility of the regime will be undermined. A determined struggle that doesn’t yield and won’t be provoked can create a serious political crisis. Those in power who are themselves now under attack by the regime but conciliating with it would be compelled to respond to our struggle from below, leading to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.

This would be hard, but possible. Possible because millions of us feel the horror of Trump and Pence. Many have righteously protested different outrages, but now we must rise to another level of determined resistance.

We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America.

WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.

In the Name of Humanity,

We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

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

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go to:
RefuseFascism.org
to add your name to this statement

 @RefuseFascism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/refuse-fascism-the-urgency-of-the-present-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

From Refuse Fascism, April 3, 2018

The Continuity of the Past Does Not Negate the Urgency of the Present

By Coco Das and Sarah Roark

April 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Why should we unite in a mass protest movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, when the values they represent have always been a part of American society?

Some of us in Refuse Fascism recognize that every administration has played its part in preserving American empire, white supremacy, and traditional patriarchy. Bill Clinton’s expansion of the War on Drugs with a “three strikes” provision escalated the criminalization of Black and brown people. George W. Bush violated international law to invade Iraq, codified torture in U.S. foreign policy, and normalized the role of Christian theocrats in American government. Barack Obama was the “deporter in chief,” and carried out drone wars that dropped tens of thousands of bombs on people in the middle east, North Africa, and South Asia.

We live in a country built on the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, and the theft of land from Mexico, where Jim Crow segregation gave Nazis the legal models for their racial purity laws, where mass incarceration has locked away a generation of oppressed youth, and wars for empire have taken millions of lives. Donald Trump’s mantra to “Make America Great Again” is rooted in the the 19th-century doctrine that U.S. supremacy is both justified and inevitable, destined by God. This fascist creed has deep roots in American society, and its current configuration within the Republican party has been decades in the making.

But while fascism can advance on tiptoe for years, it can also make sudden, game-changing leaps forward into a whole new stage. This is the collective shock we’ve experienced. The Trump/Pence regime does, in some ways, represent a continuity with past injustices. But it also, and more importantly, represents a dramatic metastasis of the frustrated ambitions of a white supremacist, Christian fascist movement. This movement put their hopes into George W. only to see him fail to deliver their whole agenda, and suffered some demoralizing setbacks during Obama. In Trump, however, they have seen and seized an opportunity they’ve never had before.

Why Trump? Because finally they have a leader who doesn’t give a shit about conventions, who has no allegiance to traditional democratic norms, and in fact promised to tear up these norms, who doesn’t give even lip service to human rights, equality or diversity, and who delivers one satisfying shock after another and gets away with it. He is the mad dog they’ve always needed and the outsider they’ve always perceived themselves to be. Far from being ineffectual, Trump has delivered for this movement in a way that no one else has, and now, with the latest shake-ups in his cabinet, he is bringing the world even closer to the possibility of nuclear war.

What does all this mean for the rest of us who don’t want to live in a world that returns to the worst of our history — and then goes even further, threatening the very future of humanity and the planet?

It means that our resistance must be an answer to this danger, going beyond anything this fascist regime can absorb. The fact is, the American people as a whole have accepted too much of the injustices of the past, and that is our shame to bear. But that doesn’t negate the urgency of the present. With everything at stake, it is necessary to act now and act boldly. The sins of our past are no excuse for standing by and watching this fresh disaster unfold.

And a disaster for all humanity is exactly what it is. The aims of this regime are genocidal at their core. Right now, it takes the form of denying millions of people the right and means to survival. The logic of genocide drives the deportations that tear up families and return people to desperate, deadly situations. It drives the cruelty of the travel ban, the neglect of Puerto Rico, and the crudeness of calling whole countries “shitholes” (which have gone beyond words to find real expression in policy). There is a threat of genocide in Trump’s praise for white supremacists in Charlottesville, and in his chuckling assurances that the police need not be “too nice.” It is embodied in his “fire and fury” threats toward North Korea and his attitude that the environment, the health of our planet itself, is not worth preserving.

Many of Trump’s policies do not make sense to the rest of us. They seem to most, and are largely presented in the media, as being the actions of a capricious, corrupt, or incompetent ruler. Trump and Hitler draw so many comparisons because of their similarly deranged behavior and rhetoric, where reality itself is turned upside down. There is method to this madness, however, and a comprehensible if terrifying calculation that underlies the chaos it deliberately stirs up.

We need to understand that this chaos and crisis is not a distraction—it’s a requirement. For the people who say Trump is just more of the same and there’s no need to form a different response, here is a question to consider: Did Hitler simply give more open expression to the anti-Semitism already embedded in German life, or did he prepare the German people for mass genocide and then carry it out?

In the 1930’s, fascism was unfamiliar and confusing. Many ordinary Germans were blindsided by the new ideology and way of governing. We do not have the same excuse. We have a wealth of history to compare our experiences to. We have mounting evidence that fits known patterns we should recognize, acknowledge and unite against. And we have a benefit the people of prewar Germany didn’t: we have their failure to learn from.

We also have a better understanding of the importance and power of sustained, non-violent resistance, and inspiring examples of causes that seemed, at times, to be completely hopeless … until they weren’t.

That is where our power to stop this begins. With a determination to fully understand the situation and the basis for changing it, to cast aside illusions and self-delusions and deal fully with reality. To not be blindsided. From the beginning, Refuse Fascism has identified the fascist character of this regime and is building the movement to drive it out, with an updated Call to Action and a plan to mobilize millions into the streets before it’s too late. The people of the world are waiting for us to take this stand. It is on all of us now, no matter what actions we’ve taken in the past, to claim our place in this movement and spread it to everyone, everywhere, every day.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/launching-the-new-call-from-refuse-fascism-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Launching the New Call from Refuse Fascism

April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Revcom.us received the following letter to Refuse Fascism organizers from RefuseFascism.org. It lays out their plans to launch their new Call to Action (linked here and at the bottom of this page). We are sharing this with our readers because it is of tremendous import to people all over the world that this effort succeeds. We will have more on this effort in the next week.

 

April 1, 2018

To Chapters and Organizers:

Trump’s recent appointment of a team of torturers, war criminals and eager-to-be war criminals—coming on top of more than a year now of the regime’s fascist assault on many different sections of the people as well as many norms and institutions of society—make the mission of RefuseFascism.org more urgent and necessary than ever before.

People all over the world need for us to succeed very soon in launching a movement of sustained mass nonviolent protests that start with many thousands and grow to millions and do not stop until the demand—The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!—is met.

To this end, it is of tremendous importance that we now have a new Call to Action. This new Call captures in a single piece the scope and magnitude of the danger we face 14 months into a fascist regime and compellingly puts forward the only way that this can be stopped.

This Call provides a unified understanding and mission around which RefuseFascism.org can go out and struggle to win hundreds, soon thousands, and then tens of thousands and more to the understanding and determination to act together to stop the catastrophe that is the American fascism of the Trump/Pence Regime.

The following are plans for all of us—in different parts of the country and in different ways—to work together to launch this Call with the greatest impact and in a way that builds both greater unity of will among broader numbers of people and, very importantly, greater organization and participation in RefuseFascism.org. This “launch plan” is to provide more detail and direction as to how to implement the first phase of the overall plan for 2018 which chapter organizers received two weeks ago, and which we encourage everyone to return to.

This launch plan includes “soft launch” of grassroots efforts that begins to get the new Call out hand-to-hand and prepares momentum and participation in a bigger launch on April 11, with heightened buzz, distribution, and organizing around the new Call in the two weeks to follow that.

Through this entire four week period, RF will be spreading our basic message far and wide through the Call and getting out our main slogans (This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! and, NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!). This spreading of our Call and slogans will be integrated with three additional things: [1] building organization and raising funds, drawing forward and involving new people through meetings, discussions, watching the film of the talk by Bob Avakian: “THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible”; [2] preparing for a month of actions that will put the basic objective and message of RF before the world; and [3] doing all of this in the midst of the swirl of struggle against the regime around the danger of war, the assault on immigrants, and other key fronts where RF intervention would contribute to achieving our objective. Key in this period is stepping out with the Call, the slogans/posters and organizing masses into RF preparing for the struggles to come.

TODAY TO APRIL 10—”SOFT LAUNCH”

For this concentrated period, chapters and volunteers should focus on grassroots efforts of mass distribution of the new Call to Action and uniting beginning cores of people around the content of this Call (this should include existing members, folks who have been in and out of the chapters in recent months, and new people you are meeting).

a) Focus on mass distribution of the initial Call/layout. This should include not only distributing this at protests, but also at high schools (students are extremely politicized right now and very receptive), at theater events, forums, mass transit hubs, and other places. Aim to get out thousands—even tens of thousands. Collect new sign-ups and volunteers for the next phase. Always have a donation can and ASK EVERYONE to donate (the more you ask, the more people give).

b) Through this, build a buzz for and invite very aggressively to mass meetings on (or, if your chapter needs to do it near) Wednesday, April 11th.

c) Begin discussing the content of the new Call with the members of your chapter, with clusters of friends and family, with students and others you are meeting. The more people wrestle with and are united around the content of this Call, the more they can be involved in the next phase of launching this to an even greater audience. Again, ask people to donate to getting this Call printed in mass quantities, advertised online, and for the movement being built around it to succeed.

d) Take this Call to Action to people who have disproportionate influence and ask them to sign it and to donate. Send in records of people who sign this to the National Office. Once we garner a critical mass of prominent signers, we will announce the initial list in the second phase.

e) SOCIAL MEDIA: During these 9 days, RF social media (and those it can unleash) should build anticipation for the April 11th launch of the new Call to Action. This should include a series of anticipation-building posts all week (memes, short videos from RF and folks RF is meeting, clips from the BA talk, and more), perhaps a thunderclap prepared for the 11th, lining up the participation of people with larger platforms for the 11th itself, and other ideas generated by the social media team in conjunction with the National Office. This should incorporate asking people to donate and popularizing the reasons people give for donating.

APRIL 11—OFFICIAL LAUNCH

On April 11, there will be a new, more compelling and attractive print layout of the Call to Action available for distribution and “unveiled” online. There will be a 30 minute livestream from the NY meeting that will include: a dramatic reading of the Call, a presentation of the national plan, and likely a short presentation on the present danger of war (about 10 minutes each), as well as a fund-pitch. This launch should be built up in the week ahead of time on social media, and through the mass emails from RF, getting people to tune in live online and spread the livestream as it happens.

Chapters and other clusters of people around the country—everyone met through the “soft launch”—should gather to watch this live in mass organizing meetings (or on video later in the day, or later in the week). Everyone should be asked to donate on the spot online, or by filling out a pledge card indicating how much they will give and by when (which organizers will have to follow up on to collect).

This should then kick off a much more intense and wide-reaching effort to mobilize many new people to work together to mass distribute this Call to Action to an even greater range of people over the next two weeks. This should include a movement of readings of the call at pertinent locations—in front of Trump properties, in school cafeterias, from the pulpit, in senior centers, on public transit, etc. These should be filmed and promoted through social media (and creative splices of different readings could be created to spread momentum and involvement). Chapters and organizers must plan this well so this becomes both a way to reach many tens of thousands of new people with the Call and a means to concretely organize scores of new organizers to work together with, and become part of, RefuseFascism.org as they do. This must include plans for fundraising on an even bigger scale—both mass fundraising and the development of more significant donations and regular donors.

April 12 – April 25—Mass Campaign to Distribute and Get Organized Around the Call to Action

Distribute hundreds of thousands of copies of this new Call to Action across the country, creating a grassroots buzz, growing organization, setting political terms, and garnering prominent signatories that can disproportionately shape public opinion.

Fundraising: Major funds need to be raised in this period. Millions are being mobilized to donate funds and time to elections which hold no chance of stopping the nightmare Trump/Pence are imposing. We have to aggressively and boldly go out and win many thousands to very soon become donors—one time donors as well as ongoing sustainers—of RefuseFascism.org, the one organization and movement that is accurately assessing the problem we face and has a plan to move the millions required to stop this nightmare. Donating and raising funds for RF are among the most important ways of strengthening this movement—enabling us to reach millions more with the funds that are raised and organizing people by winning them to become donors and sustainers and to, in turn, take up fundraising themselves. Fundraising must be woven into every activity we undertake (always shaking the can when going out broadly, for example) and there must be specific fundraising efforts planned and persevered in (phone-banking, fundraising potlucks, bake sales, targeted outreach to develop higher level donors and sustainers, etc.).

Posters, stickers, T-shirts, hats and more. New materials are being developed to be ready for April 11. Important: We need more designers and volunteers to help develop these materials—please contact us if you, or someone you know, can volunteer.

Social media: Unleash a campaign that wields the content of the Call (entering into hot conversations and in its own right) and calls on others to sign it. Show images of posters getting up, stickers being worn and getting out, the Call being mass distributed. Work to involve more and more volunteers met online to participate in spreading this (mass emails should also include regular instructions for spreading on social media). Fundraising intensifies—including through sales of merchandize online.

Preparations for next phase: During this period, plans also must be developed for—and people organized and won to take part across the country in—forms of political protest and action that project this Call and its mission much more dramatically into society.

The National Office will write with more thinking on this soon, but in the meantime we strongly encourage you to think and strategize among your chapters and to share—in appropriate ways—ideas and suggestions (or questions) that you come up with.

 

New Call to Action From Refuse Fascism:

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

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

We are horrified and angered at the shocking damage already done to lives here and around the world by the Trump/Pence regime. We recognize that they are poised to do far worse, including threatening WAR, even nuclear war. Through an unrelenting barrage of daily outrages and Twitter outbursts, the Trump/Pence regime is radically remaking society—step by step hammering into place a vicious American fascism. This is not insult or exaggeration, it is what they are doing.

Therefore, WE RESOLVE that nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare.

There is a way to do this. To do so,we must cast aside illusions and self-delusions:

All too many people think and act as if what we face is just the worst of pendulum swings between Republicans and Democrats. NO! This regime, if left in power, will effect a thoroughly reactionary restructuring of society.

If we think that the normal processes of the 2018 or 2020 elections, or the Mueller investigation will, by themselves, redress the situation that humanity faces, we are not understanding the determination of these fascists in power to shatter norms—even though they have been doing so for over a year.

If we think that the heightened activism of the past year, either by itself or together with the elections will stop this regime, we are missing how much harm this regime has already done, absorbing individual protests as it rapidly moves its agenda forward on multiple fronts.

If we are not as outraged and motivated to act today as we were right after the election, we are on our way to accepting a great horror that builds daily. If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, do not ask how the German people could have accepted Nazism in the 1930s.

An American Fascism

We must not reassure ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. It is. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny—”America First”—wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

This regime denies truth and objective evidence, and yet it has its hands on the most powerful military and nuclear arsenal in history and is preparing and threatening to use it! Millions of immigrants live in terror fearing their loved ones will be ripped away. People’s humanity is viciously denied. Women are poised to lose the right to abortion. Trump and Sessions have instructed police to “take the gloves off,” further brutalizing people of color. LGBTQ rights recently won are under assault. Damage done to the environment by this regime in just 14 months could be irreversible.

Fascism rules by organized repression and terror by the government: civil liberties are stripped away, law re-written, dissent criminalized, the courts packed with fascists, and the separation of powers and of church and state ultimately eviscerated. As part of radically remaking society, the Trump/Pence regime must sharply attack those in positions of power who oppose them. Fascism also mobilizes mobs of vicious thugs as we’ve seen with Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Trump/Pence Regime has not yet been able to implement their full program. But they are advancing. It might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer.

Don’t Normalize... Don’t Accommodate... Don’t Conciliate... Don’t Collaborate...

People all over the world are counting on us to STOP this nightmare. The different strains of fascist demagogues and movements in this country see in Trump and Pence their “last chance” to achieve their reactionary program. They will not listen to facts or reason; they have already and will continue to change rules, manipulate elections, and they will not give up.

The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this. They are about maintaining order for their whole set up. For them, order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism. After Trump’s election, President Obama said of Trump, “We are all on the same team... We are now all rooting for his success.” NO! If Trump succeeds, it will be catastrophic!

But there IS another way. A different kind of protest. We need to organize now for the time when we can launch massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country—protests that continue day after day and don’t stop, creating the kind of political situation in which the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power is met.

Everyone who recognizes that the Trump/Pence Nightmare Must End is invited to join in and prepare for launching this great act of sustained resistance.

Imagine tens of thousands beginning in several cities and towns, with marches, candlelight vigils, rallies—students, religious communities, immigrants, everyone with a heart for humanity in the streets and not backing down—growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The whole world will take heart.

This will shake millions awake, with many losing their adjustment to life under this regime. The international credibility of the regime will be undermined. A determined struggle that doesn’t yield and won’t be provoked can create a serious political crisis. Those in power who are themselves now under attack by the regime but conciliating with it would be compelled to respond to our struggle from below, leading to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.

This would be hard, but possible. Possible because millions of us feel the horror of Trump and Pence. Many have righteously protested different outrages, but now we must rise to another level of determined resistance.

We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America.

WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.

In the Name of Humanity,

We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

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

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go to:
RefuseFascism.org
to add your name to this statement

 @RefuseFascism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/sasha-abramsky-bob-avakian-and-andy-zee-on-why-nothing-short-of-removing-this-regime-will-stop-this-nightmare-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

From The Michael Slate Show:

Sasha Abramsky on Trump and 1930s Germany... BA on Role of Students... and Andy Zee on Why Nothing Short of Removing This Regime Will Stop This Nightmare

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On April 6, 2018, The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio aired a show that included an interview with journalist and professor Sasha Abramsky; an audio clip from the Q&A of the talk by Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, in which BA addresses the role of students; and an interview with Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and a spokesperson for the Revolution Books stores. The following are excerpts from the transcripts of the interviews with Abramsky and Zee.

The Michael Slate Show airs every Friday at 10 am Pacific Time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. The show can be streamed live here and people can listen to or download archived shows here.

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

Sasha Abramsky

Michael Slate: I’m pleased to welcome to the show Sasha Abramsky. We are going to be talking about one of his most recent articles in the Sacramento Bee on fascism in Germany, the rise of Hitler, and what it has to do with what we are looking at with the Trump regime and what’s happening in this country today. Sasha welcome to the show.

Sasha Abramsky: Hey, good morning.

Michael Slate: Reading what you’ve written, I thought this was something people need to hear about because far too many people have normalized a lot of things that are happening in this country today. Fascism, it can’t happen here—that’s a lot of what people are thinking. But you bring lessons from Germany. You’ve written about what happened when the great mass of citizenry either supported the transformation or sat back and did nothing. And you’ve said that as Trump consolidates his power, the history of 1930s Germany needs to be understood and the Trump/Pence regime needs to be called out for what it is.

Sasha Abramsky: What I’ve been writing about for the last several years is the fact that when norms start breaking down, it’s very easy for the great mass of people—the sort of apathetic middle of the road people who hope for a return to normalcy, the people who don’t really want to pay attention to politics in the first place—to sort of step back and say: “Oh well, we’re different. We have something exceptional about American history that guarantees permanent democracy.”

It’s certainly true that the way our constitution is crafted, we’ve got a lot of braking mechanisms built in to try to constrain demagogy and to try and constrain a march to tyranny. But it’s also true when you look at the last couple years that Trump and his administration have shattered one norm after another. They’ve done it both deliberately and also simply because they’re full of bluster and they’re full of hatred and they’re full of nastiness and every time they enact a policy they go after another vulnerable group.

I’m always haunted by that quote from Nazi Germany about first they came for the socialists and I didn’t do anything because I wasn’t a socialist, and then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t do anything because I wasn’t a trade unionist. And it goes on and on and finally it says and then they came for the Jews and there was no one left to defend me. I’ve always been haunted by that idea that when a civic society breaks down it doesn’t happen all at once but it happens gradually. What we’re seeing in America at the moment is the erosion of one norm and one safeguard after another and the corrosion of one institutional braking mechanism after another. And as that happens one group after another is targeted, whether it’s Dreamers, whether it’s people with temporary protected status, whether it’s pregnant women who come to the border and try to claim asylum, whether it’s vulnerable young people who are being attacked by the police—one group after another is being rendered vulnerable. If we sit back and if we just say, “Look, it can’t happen here,” we’re going to sleepwalk into a disaster. Because it can happen here. There are no guarantees that it will but there are clearly impulses in play at the moment that are pushing America in a deeply authoritarian dark, direction.

Michael Slate: When you write about what happened in Germany you say that even among the best of people in Germany at the time, there was an idea that “silence and disdain” was “effective opposition.” You can see a lot of that where people here today dismiss what Trump does, they dismiss some of the people in his cabinet and meanwhile he’s basically rolling out the whole fascist groundcover and people are saying look, he’s an idiot, the elections are coming up and that will change things.

Sasha Abramsky: A few things about the slide into first chaos and then authoritative fascism of Germany have always intrigued me. One of them is that Germany was one of the most cultured, sophisticated countries on Earth in the Weimar period [1919-1933]. It had this rich history; it was reinventing itself after the calamity of WW1; it had this thriving political culture in Weimar Germany. It was sexually tolerant; it was politically tolerant; it was an epicenter of artistic creativity. That was in the 1920s. Then the economic collapse triggered by 1929 occurs and by the early ’30s its economy is a wreck. People are homeless by the millions, they’re unemployed by the millions, they’re feeling humiliated, they’re feeling humbled. They’re looking for a fifth column of domestic enemies to blame. They’re casting around for religious and racial minorities that they can target and scapegoat.

All of these things happened remarkably quickly. When you look at Germany in the mid-1930s, in the early Nazi period, you see a few things. The first is that the scapegoaters are now in charge and they’re busy blaming Jews and communists and homosexuals and people they call “degenerate artists” and so on and so forth. The second thing you see is that an awful lot of Germans are very comfortable with this because their economy is starting to rebound. As long as Hitler delivers the economic goods and as long as he continues to talk about national pride and putting Germany first and preventing other nations from laughing at Germany, and as long as he pulls out of international treaties with impunity—a large number of Germans are actually rather content with the situation, especially businessmen. They might not like Hitler, they might think he’s crude and he’s crass and vulgarities come out of his mouth and they might not like his henchmen who run riot in the streets and intimidate journalists and all these things. But they’ll tolerate the Nazis as long as the Nazis deliver tax cuts, as long as the Nazis deliver economic benefits and so on.

When you look at the parallels to today, there’s a frightening similarity. For the vast majority of Americans, the people who aren’t being directly targeted or aren’t being directly brutalized or aren’t being directly intimidated—there seems to be a tradeoff. They might not like Trump, they might not like the Republican Party at the moment but a goodly number of them will sit back and tolerate it as long as the jobs are flowing, as long as the tax cuts are flowing, as long as their daily economic situation is OK. That’s a horrifying calculus because what it means is a large number of people in an authoritarian system become expendable. And they become expendable simply because the vast majority of people aren’t willing to stand up to the government and say this is outrageous. You cannot intimidate and beat and brutalize people in our names. But as long as that outrage isn’t there, there’s room for an authoritarian government to do tremendous damage to civic culture.

Michael Slate: When Hitler came to power in Germany there were many in the German elite, and even somewhat broadly in German society, who believed that Hitler could be handled by the machinations of the conservative elites. There was this idea that he was a bumpkin, as you said, who would collapse in the face of the well-established ruling elite. Well, that didn’t work very well and Hitler went on and changed everything.

Sasha Abramsky: Yes, the parallels are eerie. Hitler gets to become the supreme power of Germany, not through winning a majority at the election but through winning a large minority. He comes into power and there’s a political crisis and eventually the president, Hindenburg—the old rearguard, the last line of World War 1 in German politics—Hindenburg basically brings Hitler into office and says, “I’m going to make you chancellor but you’re going to be chancellor of a coalition government.” So all of these traditional conservatives, like von Papen, these business elites, these old military elites, the old diplomatic elites, they hold their noses and they decide they can do business with Hitler because it’s better than political chaos. So they come into office and they make these private statements, very derogatory of Hitler saying look, he’s a nothing. We can control him. We can have him in our corner in no time. They think they can corral him and instead the exact opposite happens.

Hitler, who is derided by the elites, rapidly consolidates power and within a year all of the civic structures of Germany are breaking down and the Reichstag, the Parliament of Germany, is actually passing laws, one after another, enabling extra-constitutional government, enabling all the excesses of Hitler’s personalized rule. All of the non-Nazis in the government, one after another after another, the so-called moderates, are pushed out into oblivion. Again, the parallels to today are eerie.

The traditional conservatives in the Republican Party, they didn’t really like Trump, they held their nose, they thought he was vulgar. They didn’t really like his nativism, but what they did like was the idea that they could get someone into power who they could control. They could get their judges into positions of power, they could deregulate the economy, they could get their tax cuts. Those were the big three things the Republican Party cared about. They thought they could get Trump to do all of that and then he would roll over and be entirely in their corner. Instead what we’ve seen is yes, he did pass tax cuts, he did sign tax cuts, he’s gone after regulations with a vengeance, he’s put this horrifying number of conservative judges into the courts, but he hasn’t rolled over.

Instead what we’re seeing is purges, one after another, of the so-call moderates, people like Rex Tillerson. Or the institutions of government, whether it’s the attacks on the Department of Justice or the FBI or whether it’s the attacks on the State Department as an institution. And what we’re seeing is one after another, the people who aren’t simpatico with Trump’s agenda are being driven out of office....

History never repeats itself exactly, it always repeats itself with variation, but the danger is that we now have a deeply demagogic, scapegoating national leadership in America in control of all of the vast economic and political and military power that goes along with being in charge of the most powerful country on Earth. The potential for disaster is immense because you have a government now that has no moral constraints, no moral limits. You have a president who has indicated his willingness—at least rhetorically—to talk about using nuclear weapons. You have the immense potential for a bloody, catastrophic denouement to this period in American history. I guess where I’d wrap it up is I’d say look, the parallels with the past are always going to be parallels with a variance. So it’s not that Hitler and Trump are exact equivalents, it’s not that Weimar Germany and early 2000s America are exact equivalents, and it’s not that the Third Reich and Trump’s America are exact equivalents, but there are disturbing enough similarities that we do not have room for complacency at the moment.

Andy Zee

Michael Slate: There’s been a theme during this show today, the discussion with Sasha Abramsky early on, the Q&A section of the talk from BA, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. When you look at that, there’s a real need and necessity for people to be breaking this stuff down, but also for giving people the ability to actually step up and go out and take this stuff on, in the way that it needs to be taken on.

Andy Zee: This is actually a very rich show. There’s a lot that both Sasha Abramsky brought forward and certainly the Q&A with Bob Avakian—one of the questions among several that were part of and addendums to the film that you referenced, the talk by Bob Avakian in October, 2017. Sasha made many important points, but in saying that the greatest danger we face is complacency, this is a very profound point. It means that people are actually going to have to act to stop this.

To not repeat what he said, but to actually add to it, and highlight the film that Avakian brought forward, we have to understand that fascism actually does represent a qualitative change in the form in which this society is ruled. It doesn’t mean it’s a different system. It’s still the capitalist-imperialist system. It’s still a system that is a system of empire around the world that’s done horrific things to people in this country since its foundation. But this is a qualitative change in the form of rule, which means essentially the evisceration of democratic rights, civil rights, civil society. These are the norms that Sasha was talking about as being shattered.

And when you get to that point where there is a qualitative change, sort of a more blatant form of dictatorship if you will—and I would assert that we always live under a dictatorship of a system and a class of people—but this is really a qualitative change which, if you don’t recognize it before it consolidates, then you’ve got yourself a big problem. It makes it much harder for every form of struggle to be waged.

The other thing is, and you got a sense of this in the answer Avakian was giving to the question, “What about the students?” where he’s talking about the kind of atmosphere in society, the kind of ideas and the history of the country. And this talk, which I would recommend to your listeners—I know you do this all the time on your show—but it’s really important because Avakian goes into the roots of fascism in the system itself. We have to face up to the fact that this is not the first time fascism has occurred under this system. There’s Italy, there’s Germany, there’s Japan, in the last century. Right now, there are fascist regimes springing up all over the world, including right here.

Avakian goes very deeply in this talk into the roots of an American fascism in the whole history of this country of genocide of the native peoples, slavery and the misogyny that ran through the culture of this country and the actual laws of this country. So it should not be an anomaly or something where you can say, “How could it happen here?” This is actually the history of the country. If you have a country that has the largest prison population in the world, and percentage-wise it’s through the roof, why should you be surprised that there’s a fascist government that is coming to power and attempting to impose its rule?

So this is my perspective on this in terms of the root causes, and I’ve learned from what Avakian has done in terms of the roots of this, as well as the solution in that indeed we must now unite to stop this. And that means people of all different political persuasions, all different points of view, need to come together and recognize this as the danger that sits right in front of us. And then in that process, myself as a spokesperson of the Revolution Bookstores, we want to move beyond this system. But that is not immediately on the agenda. What is on the agenda is all kinds of people uniting today to defeat this regime through mass, non-violent protest that involves ultimately millions of people from many different points of view uniting together. That’s what Refuse Fascism is formed around.

Michael Slate: One of the things that Sasha talks about in the article he wrote—in Germany, people who should have known better looked for ways short of totally assaulting and dismantling the rising fascist regime. There’s a need for people here to be aware of the character of the situation we face today and what it demands from us. They’re consolidating their fascist machinery in a big hurry, and it’s going to mean even more horror, as we’ve already seen in the rest of the world, as you were referring to. People really need to cast aside illusions and self-delusions.

Andy Zee: I think that’s true. People do need to cast aside illusions. There’s an article on RefuseFascism.org called, “The Continuity of the Past Does Not Negate the Urgency of the Present.” This is an important point. There’s a parallel with Weimar Germany, which was that period of a florescence of democratic culture in Germany, and Sasha was right, it was often most located in the cities, and in certain elite strata there, and included a belief that that would continue. Germany, of course, was in a very different position than the U.S. is. Germany was a defeated power at that point. There were severe restrictions on it in its geopolitical aspirations.

But let’s be clear. The U.S. itself as the sole superpower has been under increasing duress in many different directions, including internationally, including that it’s now in the longest war in its history with no end in sight in Afghanistan, and certainly throughout the Mideast, as well as changing demographics, changing population, globalization. All these kinds of things has led to a section of very powerful people who have been developing a fascist movement in this country over the past 30-40 years. Perhaps it surprised Trump and it surprised them, but Trump has been able to speak to that diverse social base, and has shown the willingness and the ability to shatter every norm—this is the point Sasha was making—to shatter all these norms such as to bring about a different coherence in the ruling class.

So this is what we’re facing. You’ve got, not the majority, but a big section of the people in the United States who’ve lived a relatively comfortable life. Different from Germany—in Germany they had just gone through a world war. People here haven’t had a war in the continental United States since the Civil War. There’s been relative political stability, except for the period of struggle in the 1960s, which is something we need to learn a lot from, even if we weren’t able to succeed [in getting rid of this system] in that period.

So you have this political complacency and stability that’s based on an economic foundation. But we’ve got to get beyond that, and people have to look at what’s coming, and what the implications are. And this gets really sharply posed right now with the formation of this war cabinet, this cabal of people: Gina Haspel, an absolute war criminal being appointed the head of the CIA. This is somebody who should have been convicted of war crimes for torturing people. Pompeo, about to be confirmed as head of the State Department, a verifiable lunatic, right out of “Dr. Strangelove.” And then, what can you say about Bolton other than this is a straight-up fascist who’s advocating using first strike weapons? These people are extremely dangerous and “Mad Dog” Mattis isn’t going to restrain them.

So it is a time when people have to cast away these illusions and self-delusions and look at what’s actually in the offing. That’s something we should talk about. Over the coming weeks, you have the Iran deal coming up, you have this negotiation with North Korea. Both of these are trip wires that could lead to an absolute catastrophe for the people of the world, for people in this country, for humanity as a whole and even for the survival of humanity, should it spin out of control. This, by the way, can happen.

Michael Slate: We still are faced by this very dangerous normalization. People are saying, “Well, we have an election coming up.” Plus all this other stuff you’re referring to. But people do need to step up, recognize what’s going on, and then decide what needs to be done in this situation. There’s an historic challenge that has to be carried out or the planet could disappear.

Andy Zee: I think that’s true. And this coming Wednesday, April 11, Refuse Fascism is calling a national meeting. We’re having 30 minutes of live stream from New York. It’s happening in cities around the country. We’ll be announcing our plans for 2018 and a new Call to Act. And we do begin this by saying that we are resolving that nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop the nightmare of the Trump/Pence regime.

There is a way to do it, but to do it we have to cast aside illusions and self-delusions—which is that this is just part of the normal processes of elections, or a protest now and again around particular things by itself will change the situation. We have to be—and this is a point that Sasha also brought up, and it’s something Avakian really was hammering home in that answer, speaking about the students—just because something isn’t happening directly to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And if you want to live in a world that’s not like this one, if you want to live in a world that’s about justice, then if something is happening to other people, you have to act against it. Just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening, and it also means it’s not something you should tolerate, or you’re going to get the worst of what could come. Including that it could affect you. That’s the point of that Pastor Niemöller quote, “First they came for the communists, and I wasn’t a communist, so I did nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did nothing.” To the point when they came for me, and there was no one left to stand up.

We do put on the front page of our new Call—I’m going to preview it, but people should come listen to this live stream, and come to the meetings—if we are not as outraged and motivated to act today as we were right after the election, we are on our way to accepting a great horror that builds daily. If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, do not ask how the German people could have accepted Nazism in the 1930s.

Michael Slate: That was something that really grabbed me when I read it. It makes you sit up and think, and hopefully it will make you stand up and do something.

Andy Zee: At the meetings we’re going to be discussing plans for how do we go from a situation where there’s millions of people outraged at the situation, probably tens of thousands acting around one outrage or another, whether it’s the situation with women, the Black Lives Matter, the DACA youth, immigration, climate change, scientists are marching next weekend—and a situation where there’s a few thousand people who are determined that the whole regime must go through mass non-violent struggle, on the model of what happened in South Korea in 2016 where they massed in the streets, day after day, night after night until the president was removed from power—impeached and then indicted.

Michael Slate: Do you have anything to add?

Andy Zee: Two things. One is to go to this website, RefuseFascism.org and sign the call. You can read it there. And take part in this movement. And two, if you really want to understand, and you do need to understand what we’re facing, go to either RefuseFascism.org or Revcom.us and watch this film by Bob Avakian, and watch the Q&A, and get into the causes of this, and to the solution. I would also recommend to your listeners an article by Avakian, “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer.” This is also on the website revcom.us. It’s an incredible analysis of the roots of this American fascism, of Manifest Destiny, the Bible taken literally, misogyny, white supremacy and xenophobia, the roots of all this in the history, including the present history of the U.S.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/fascism-on-the-march-opens-up-debate-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

“Fascism on the March” Opens Up Debate—and an Avenue for Sharing BA’s Talk Widely

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fascism on The March—Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?” That’s the headline of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s article on the front page of the April 8 New York Times Sunday Review section, and it’s sounding an alarm and kicking off much debate and commentary, including among many who are genuinely concerned about the Trump/Pence regime.

Madeleine Albright was Bill Clinton’s UN ambassador when she said on “60 Minutes” that it was worth killing 500,000 Iraqi children to advance the interests of the U.S. empire. She is a war criminal. When she sounds an alarm like this, that tells us how much of a rupture the Trump/Pence regime is from what has been a ruling class consensus. It tells us how dangerous and reckless sections of these rulers view the regime. It tells us how deep the splits among those on top potentially are.

People like Albright see this from the vantage point of those who rule over billions, subjecting them to grinding exploitation and terrible oppression. From those interests, they open up debate among millions and tens of millions.

Those millions must hear from someone who speaks for humanity as a whole. There is an urgent need for the film of Bob Avakian’s powerful talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible to become a point of reference in this discussion. Like nothing else out there, this talk scientifically digs into the roots and nature of the Trump/Pence regime, and answers the question—what can and must be done to stop Trump before it’s too late?

The Trump/Pence regime is bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war as a key element of an overall fascist remaking of society. Albright wants to go back to the world of imperialist war and the vicious exploitation of the world’s people and planet. BA is leading a movement for an actual revolution for a radically different future—for a far better world on the road to human emancipation.

In understanding and entering the debate over Albright’s op-ed and new book—Fascism: A Warning—and spreading the film of the talk by Bob Avakian, the following from revcom.us is important to keep in mind:

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

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

So widely spread THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, including online and at book readings that Albright is doing around the country. On Twitter, follow and share tweets from @tuneintorevcom, and correspond with revolution.reports@yahoo.com about your experiences.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/two-must-see-exhibits-on-world-war-2-detention-of-japanese-americans-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Check It Out:

Two Must-See Exhibits on the Normalization of the Culture of Torture and on the World War 2 Detention of Japanese Americans

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The International Center of Photography in New York City (ICP) has curated two must-see exhibits. The exhibits are Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died and Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The exhibits are most significant in light of the fascist Trump/Pence regime’s increased repression, particularly toward immigrants. After viewing the exhibits, it was even more chilling to hear Trump’s declaration that the U.S. “detention” (read torture) program will be expanded and Guantánamo would remain open. And that he just nominated Gina Haspel, former head torturer in a Thailand “black site” (secret CIA prison), as the new CIA director.

It’s important to see both exhibits together.

Erin Barnett, director of ICP’s exhibitions and collections, explained in an email to a revcom.us correspondent:

We scheduled the exhibitions together because they both deal with the demise of civil liberties in the name of national security. Both exhibitions also highlight racism and bureaucracy, humanize the people who were caught up in these two very different wars, and address the repercussions of war. These exhibitions are also examples of “concerned photography,” a premise on which ICP was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa. He believed that photographs had the power to educate and change the way people viewed the world, and hopefully propel positive social change.

Just one illustration: A friend saw the exhibition and found a woman visibly distraught in the restroom. She exclaimed, “I had no idea this was going on. I don’t know what to do about it.”

A reader reviewed the exhibit on the internment of Japanese Americans previously on revcom.us when it was in Chicago, so here we will focus on Edmund Clark’s exhibit.

As you enter the exhibit you hear Don McLean’s song “American Pie” playing overhead. Written to commemorate the death of Buddy Holly, this is one on a list of songs that had been played loudly during interrogation by the U.S. torturers to disorient detainees. As reported in Mother Jones, these “familiar anthems of American and Western popular music were chosen either on the grounds of presumed offensiveness or for their identification with American life, values, and culture.”

Clark’s exhibit draws from 10 projects on the “war on terror.” Each project stands on its own, revealing an aspect of the inhumane conditions, of some horror or aspect of torture, taking place in Guantánamo and “black sites” around the world. Any one of these projects is like a punch to the gut, and evokes a visceral response of, “How could they do such horrible things?” But the point of dehumanization is to rationalize the carrying out of such gruesome atrocities.

The exhibit guide notes, “Between 2002 and 2008, over a hundred people were captured around the world and disappeared, sometimes for years, in secret CIA facilities—otherwise known as ‘black sites.’ Psychologists and interrogators were authorized to use ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ [torture] to question subjects.” Some have been released, some are still being held at Guantánamo, others died in captivity. The fate of more than a quarter of those abducted remains unknown.

Through photographs and heavily redacted declassified documents, Clark reveals in detail how in our everyday lives these secret horrors have been (and continue to be) committed and normalized so that people generally pay little attention to them.

One of the projects is a massive floor-to-ceiling wall of redacted documents. They bring to light the torture techniques like “wallings” (slamming detainees against a wall), sleep deprivation up to 180 hours, combined with forced standing or in painful stress positions, and waterboarding that induced convulsions and vomiting.

Mohammed Shoroeiya was “held for a year in a CIA prison in Afghanistan, in almost total darkness with loud music playing constantly.” In the exhibit are his sketches of the small wooden box, similar to a coffin, in which he was confined.

An Afghan detainee, Gul Rahman, froze to death. One of the documents on the wall is the redacted investigation of his death—a matter-of-fact description of the horrific details: his urine had high catecholamine levels, which is consistent with hypothermic deaths; he was seen shivering for a number of hours immediately prior to his death; he was extremely cold, held in an uninsulated prison with an outside temperature of 31 degrees; and he had not eaten in approximately 36 hours—his levels of glycogen, which the body uses to stay warm, would have been depleted.

Clark shows how the “war on terror” has permeated our culture:

Inherent in the coverage and execution of the War on Terror has been a simple contradiction: “We” have to work the dark side because that is what “they” are doing. But “we” believe in and are protecting honesty, justice, and democracy and are not breaking the law. “They” threaten and attack our way of life, and nothing is too low if it needs to be done to get even for what “they” have done and to stop them doing it again. It requires talking tough and being seen to play as dirty as “them” while still wanting to claim to be lawful. Trying to square this circle has required new legal forms and a level of denial.

There’s much more that can be written about this extraordinary exhibit, but it’s best to experience it for yourself. Better yet, bring a friend or two—perhaps those who normally don’t have the chance to see art like this with so much societal importance.

The exhibits are showing at the International Center of Photography Museum, 250 Bowery, New York, NY, until May 6, 2018.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/los-angeles-challenging-trumps-order-to-send-troops-to-the-border-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Los Angeles: Challenging Trump's Order to Send Troops to the Border

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Friday afternoon, April 6, Refuse Fascism in Los Angeles held an emergency press conference and protest march to begin a campaign to challenge and stop Trump’s order to send U.S. National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border—as part of the campaign to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. Since Trump’s announcement, there is further evidence as to what this order is a part of: military concentration camps for undocumented immigrants and placing in those camps refugees arrested at the border areas by the U.S Border Patrol, without any due process. Speakers at the press conference included participants from Indivisible Suffragettes in LA, San Gabriel Valley NOW, the Revolution Club, LA and Refuse Fascism. The action was held in front of U.S. National Guard headquarters in West Los Angeles. Spanish language Channel 62 Estrella TV assisted with videography and choreography, and showed the protest live at 5 pm.

Participants marched to Wilshire Blvd.—a major vehicular thoroughfare—and held a protest action during rush hour traffic. Those participating included a couple who’d recently come from Japan who explained that their prime minister, Abe, is a Trump supporter, and no way they’d miss this action! Participants also included a Honduran woman who’d come to the action looking for answers as to how to rouse the immigrant masses from Central America here in the U.S. at a time when many are having to confront the possibility of ICE arrests and deportation—how to get them to stand up in protest in large numbers in the face of such a situation. She was given a stack of the new Call to Action from Refuse Fascism and plans were made to strategize further on how to solve this huge challenge.

Refuse Fascism’s press release included these comments:

“Trump’s order for the National Guard to further militarize the U.S. / Mexico border comes at a time when a migrant caravan is making its way from Central America, through southern Mexico, on its way north. The caravan includes many Hondurans. Trump’s Twitter burst declaring the caravan ‘must be stopped’ is outrageous and the height of hypocrisy -- it is the United States and its imperial depredation that has oppressed Central America and Honduras for many decades. It is the U.S. government that backed a coup in Honduras in 2009 and has supported the return of a ‘death-squad government’ since then.

“Trump’s call to further militarize the U.S. / Mexico border comes in the context of a comprehensive and major escalation in assaults on Brown and Black immigrants in this country: ending Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for over a quarter of a million people, conducting massive raids in sanctuary cities, ending DACA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting leaders and activists who stand with the undocumented.

“This all-around assault on refugees and immigrants is not only a horror in its own right, it is the linchpin and battering ram of a whole fascist program being hammered into place by the Trump/Pence Regime. Trump’s ‘Wall’ and this heightened militarization of the border -- as part of comprehensive attack on refugees and immigrants -- is a potent symbol and instrument of terror that concentrates the shattering of old norms and cementing Trump’s new order of: ‘America First... Make America Great White Again.’

“Everything we do must be a part of getting to the point, at the soonest possible moment, when tens of thousands -- leading to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions -- can launch and sustain a nationwide movement of nonviolent political protests, in the streets and public squares, that don’t stop until the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from office is met.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/grade-school-students-kneel-while-singing-the-national-anthem-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

From a reader

Two Grade-School Students Kneel While Singing the National Anthem at a Major League Baseball Game

April 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the Seattle Mariners baseball game with the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field in Seattle on Sunday, April 1, two young girls knelt while singing the National Anthem with their school choir from the Mount View Elementary School.

Yahoo Sports wrote that the two students “are trailblazers, demonstrating that the quest for racial equality and social justice has support from a new generation.”

USA Today’s “For The Win” feature said, “As we've seen in the wake of the Parkland shooting, kids these days are not going to accept being spectators for important discussions regarding the communities in which they live. The future is in good hands.”

A spokesperson for Seattle’s Highline Public Schools told the Huffington Post that this was an “individual act by the students. Obviously, the school district respects the First Amendment rights of our students.”

The photo of the students kneeling was tweeted out by Ryan S. Clark, sportswriter of the Tacoma News Tribune, who was covering the game. People are re-tweeting the photo, including Colin Kaepernick, the NFL football player who started the anthem protest against police brutality and murders of Black people.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/carl-dix-on-police-murder-cover-ups-what-must-be-done-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Stephon Clark & Alton Sterling & Saheed Vassell:
Police Murder, System Cover Ups & What Must Be Done Now!

by Carl Dix

Updated April 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

* March 18: Stephon Clark—gunned down by two Sacramento, California cops who shot him eight times in his grandmother’s backyard; six times in the back, once in the side and once as or after he was falling down, according to an autopsy done by the young Black man’s family.

* March 27: The Louisiana attorney general announced that the cops who murdered Alton Sterling would face no charges. The federal Department of Justice had already announced it would press no charges in this case. After these murdering pigs were allowed to go free, a video that had never been shown to the public was released, showing the pigs cursing, tasing and threatening to kill Sterling from the moment they arrived on the scene. Then they wrestled him to the ground, started yelling “gun” and shot him to death.

* April 4: Police shoot down unarmed Saheed Vassell in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Saheed was unarmed, mentally ill, and well-known throughout the neighborhood—including by police. According to witnesses, he was shot dead in a hail of bullets within 30 seconds of police arriving on the scene. All this on the exact day of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King!

These horrors put out there for all to see the fact that police continue to inflict wanton murder and brutality on Black people. Police continue to kill more than 1,000 people each year, and hundreds of those killed by police each year are unarmed and doing nothing wrong when they were killed. And the brutal, murdering pigs are almost never punished in any way for the horrors they enforce on so many people.

Those courageously standing up against all this in Sacramento—and now in Brooklyn—are RIGHT to do so. This system has proven, again and again, that it places no value on Black lives and the ONLY chance of justice comes through ferocious struggle. Shout outs to the folks in Sacramento who took over the interstate highway and twice shut down the entrance to the basketball arena, to the NBA players who put Stephon Clark’s name on their jerseys and paid for his funeral, to Stephon’s brother and the other people who disrupted the meeting the city authorities held to appear that they “felt the pain” of the protesters while insisting they wait for the process to play out.

We need this and more in the streets of Brooklyn now—and all across this nation.

We’ve gone through this for decades—those in power telling us to wait for the results of investigations, investigations that almost always let the murdering pigs walk free. We went thru it with Obama sometimes shedding crocodile tears over the deaths of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice. And still the murdering pigs walked free. This is what played out with the murder of Alton Sterling, and the same thing will continue to play out unless people rise up mightily—joining with those who are courageously standing up and taking this even further.

And now those in power aren’t even pretending they care. Trump has vowed to “take the gloves off the police,” and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has pulled the Department of Justice back from even questioning abusive police practices. This will give even more freedom to brutal, murdering police to inflict horrors on Black people and others. We got a glimpse of what that will mean when a Sacramento sheriff’s car did a hit-and-run on a 61-year-old protester, who said afterward: “If I’d done that, hit someone and not stopped, I’d be arrested.”

It is always wrong to stand aside when injustice is being perpetrated against anyone. And it would be especially wrong to stand aside now as the fascist Trump/Pence regime intensifies the terror police bring down on Black people as part of hammering fascist rule into place, a rule that includes ethnic cleansing of immigrants, assaults on the lives of women and LBGTQ people, accelerated destruction of the environment and potentially a nuclear holocaust against the people of the world.

All this poses two challenges to everyone who has an ounce of justice in their hearts:

1) To those still on the sidelines—Get into the streets! Are you willing to wait for the results of an official investigation, an investigation that almost always amounts to a cover up? Are you somebody who would express more outrage if the police were getting away with shooting down dogs than you do when they do this to Black people? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Where’s your outrage, where’s your humanity? This IS your fight—join in now.

2) To those out in the streets and everyone else—Get to the root of the problem and get into the real revolution, which is the only way to end this horror show for real. And get with the leader we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian (BA), who has forged a new communism which points the way out of the madness of today. BA sees not just the blood-soaked horror that Amerikkka has always meant for Black people, but also how the struggle against this horror can and must play a critical role in breaking all the chains that bind humanity:

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

We cannot continue to live this way, and we don’t have to. There is another way. An important part of getting out of this madness means taking this fight against murder by police even higher, and joining the movement to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power before they are allowed to consolidate their fascist rule. And doing all this while digging into and getting organized for an actual revolution.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/outrage-in-brooklyn-over-police-murder-of-saheed-vassell-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Outrage in Brooklyn Over the Police Murder of Saheed Vassell—The Whole Damned System Is Guilty as Hell!

April 6, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From the Revolution Club, NYC:

Wednesday night, nearly 1,000 people filled the streets of the Brooklyn neighborhood where the New York Police Department murdered Saheed Vassell.

 

On Wednesday, April 4, the NYPD murdered Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old Black man, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. He had no weapon on him—he was only holding a pipe when four pigs shot him 10 times. Vassell suffered from mental illness, and people in the neighborhood knew this. There was immediate outrage in the streets after the wanton police killing of yet another Black man. And next night, more people came out to protest.

When Carl Dix and the Revolution Club arrived on the scene we were hit right away with the sense of outrage that permeated the entire neighborhood. 

Masses from the neighborhood had gathered at the site of the rally well in advance of its "official" start, and were discussing loudly the events surrounding the murder of Saheed Vassell. 

Wielding "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" and copies of the statement from Carl Dix "Stephon Clark & Alton Sterling & Saheed Vassell: Police Murder, System Cover Ups & What Must Be Done Now!" we went among the people. We shared with them the quote from Bob Avakian on the role of the police and were greeted with visceral reactions of agreement and outrage. They shared stories of Saheed and the life he'd lived in the neighborhood before he was brutally cut down. "He never did any harm," many of them repeated. 

When Carl Dix spoke to the crowd, people took copies of his statement, read some of it, and came back to get more copies. Some people took the statement to share with clusters of people further out from where the gathering was starting to swell, as well as people in the restaurants and shops nearby. 

The "official" gathering was called for by a lot of different forces representing differing views on what needs to be done to address the glaring atrocities of police brutality and the wanton murder of Black and Brown people. Some more openly advocated that the murdering pigs be fired and/or jailed. The rally grew to about a thousand people at its peak and took off marching towards the 71st precinct after about an hour of speeches from representatives of different groups, and the family of Saheed Vassell. 

By the time we got to the precinct we had handed out over a thousand copies of Carl Dix's statement. People yelled angrily at the dozens of pigs gathered behind barricades that lined the streets, while some chanted "fuck the police!" and "back up back up, we want freedom! All these racist-ass cops, we don't need ’em!” In another section of the protest, family members of people murdered by police gave short rousing speeches in solidarity with the family of Saheed Vassell. 

While there were large numbers of people from the basic masses and the largely immigrant Caribbean neighborhood present, many of the protesters were not from the area and had traveled from all over the city to be part of the manifestation. As the protest grew in size and anger, there were people emerging from the train stations together, including many younger people (high schoolers and so on), strangers admiring the slogans on each others' protest signs, and being directed toward the rally by volunteers. There was definitely a sense of being "in this together," at least among the non-organized forces present. 

We extended a hand of unity to all gathered. As we all stood together toward the end of the march, Carl Dix and the Revolution Club agitated to the people about how these murders happen all the damn time and the murdering pigs are never punished because the oppression of Black people has been woven into the fabric of the capitalist-imperialist system since its foundations and down to today. We brought the reality to people, that, as Carl wrote in his statement, "[t]his system has proven, again and again, that it places no value on Black lives and the ONLY chance of justice comes through ferocious struggle." We called on people to stand up and grow even more determined in our resistance, and do so as part of getting organized for an actual revolution, and to get with the leadership that we have for this revolution, in Bob Avakian. 

As BA himself put it: 

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

And then we connected all this to the leap that the Trump/Pence regime represents; the "slow genocide" of mass incarceration being put on steroids by the open white supremacists ruling the country. We led people in chants of "the whole damn system is guilty!" as the night wound down and, overhead, projections against the wall of a nearby building proclaimed "A MAN WAS LYNCHED TODAY!"

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/university-of-chicago-police-shoot-student-and-charge-him-with-assault-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

University of Chicago Police Shoot Student and Charge HIM With Assault

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday night April 3, University of Chicago police shot a U of C student who was having a mental health crisis. The student, Charles Thomas, survived the shooting, but has been CHAINED TO HIS HOSPITAL BED with a broken shoulder and collapsed lung, and HE is being charged with multiple felonies. Students at the University of Chicago have been protesting his shooting, demanding that the university provide better mental health services, and condemning the UCPD for a known history of racism and violence.

Charles, who is Black and Asian and 21 years old, was walking in an alley off-campus with a metal rod and had allegedly smashed some windows with it. UCPD cars drove up on him, saying as they approached him that he was “a mental.” A pig jumped out of the car yelling “drop the weapon” and “don’t come at me,” and when Charles ran toward the pig, yelling at him, the pig shot. The university president issued a statement saying the UCPD followed protocol.

This police shooting has become a social question in the city, getting extensive media coverage, and on the U of C campus. The University of Chicago is a prestigious private university, known in some quarters as “The Harvard of the Midwest,” located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Four members of the U of C faculty wrote an open letter to the school newspaper condemning the shooting and the role of the university police. They were unequivocal in their opposition. “As we write, many factual details regarding this incident remain unclear. As more details emerge, many in the observing public may focus on adjudicating the facts of the case and whether the shooting was justified. As tends to be the case in police shooting incidents, there will be divergent interpretations of police accounts and body camera footage. We argue that many of these details—whether the student charged the officer, whether the officers ordered him to drop the pipe he was holding—are in fact irrelevant to the undisputed facts and the crucial concerns they raise for our community. Three officers approached a civilian who was not armed with a deadly weapon, and they fired a gun at him, endangering his life. This horrifying fact should be the center of our discourse, and our efforts going forward should be focused on ensuring that such a thing can never happen again.”

Sure enough, just as the above open letter predicted, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has a major piece in the Sunday print edition, “Frame by frame: Take aways from a careful look at the U of C police shooting video,” arguing that this shooting is justified. He ends his article by saying, “An email Thursday from the Revolution Club Chicago branded Tuesday’s shooting as ‘outrageous.’ I dissent. What’s outrageous is a knee-jerk response to all police shootings that ends up blunting the message and confusing the issue when police do cross the line.”

Well, Eric—the Revolution Club challenges you to a debate about this OUTRAGEOUS police shooting. Open up your column to us and others, and let’s get at the truth of the matter.

The day after Charles was shot, two previously planned protests against the university condemned the shooting as part of their actions. This included the protest demanding dropping the charges and ban against Maya, the Revolution Club member who was attacked by this same police force on March 1 after holding 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants and has been indicted with two felonies. Supporters of Maya held 11 minutes of silence and spoke out in front of the building of the university president’s office. The other protest the same day was for a graduate student union, where 200 students chanted outside a discussion the university president was having on “free speech.”

The next day, more than 100 students attended a protest called directly in response to the shooting of Charles Thomas. Students spoke out, and those in the crowd were listening with tears streaming down their faces from students suffering from mental health issues. As a white student cried, she spoke about how the shooting of Charles Thomas going through a mental health crisis could well mean she could be shot. Students also spoke out against the UCPD being one of the largest private police forces in the world. People brought out the human life of Charles Thomas who needed help but was dealt with by police with guns.

The Revolution Club has been at all these protests taking out our statement on police murder and calling on people to get into Bob Avakian and to watch and promote 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. We have also been linking this outrage to the UCPD’s attack on Maya and the battle to get her charges dropped. Both Maya and Charles Thomas are facing felony charges from the same campus police force.

A statement has been issued by a friend of Charles that reads in part, “Anyone, student or faculty, on this campus will tell you about the intense amount of emotional stress put on individuals to succeed. Charles was no stranger to this feeling, and with pressures mounting at the end of his undergraduate career, he did what he could to get himself help by visiting the Student Counseling Service at the end of winter quarter. Rather than being provided with a regular counselor on campus, SCS referred Charles off campus.”

The president of the university has justified this shooting as being a part of “protocol.” What kind of institutional protocol is it when the police are required to shoot down people who are suffering from a mental breakdown? What kind of system is this where police are called to the scene of someone in a crisis needing help and shooting him? Instead of offering critical care to someone who needs help, the enforcers of a worldwide system that bombs hospitals and access to clean water, shoots down protesters and intervenes with coup d’etats, and terrorizes whole peoples with its military might and wars for empire releases its thugs to bring down people, particularly of color, by shooting them. Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California. Decynthia Clements in Elgin, Illinois. Quintonio Legrier in Chicago. There are so many more names of people, many of them Black, who were suffering and when they needed help were instead gunned down by the police.

What kind of system is this where the shooting of a victim is put forward as a justifiable and reasonable solution? This has got to stop! As the Revolution Club, Chicago began in our recent statement: “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.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/refuse-fascism-call-if-trump-fires-mueller-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

If Trump Fires Mueller, Into the Streets & Don't Go Home!

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Trump threatens to fire Mueller—should he do so, it will be a moment that will further test whether or not people in this country are willing to go down the road towards a fascist America. That must not happen.

Today, Donald Trump lashed out and escalated the threat to fire Special Counsel Mueller. Seated at a table with his war cabinet, flanked by Vice President Pence and National Security Advisor Bolton, Trump began fuming and ranting about the FBI raid of the offices of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. After Trump railed against what he calls a “witch hunt” he was asked about firing Mueller, and replied “we’ll see, it’s a disgrace... a lot of people have told me I should fire Mueller.”

Trump firing Mueller, or firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to get to Mueller, would be an egregious violation and attack on the rule of law. It would be an outrageous and ominous assertion that Trump and this regime is above the law. Further consolidating and concentrating power in the hands of the executive branch – in the person of the president – would be another major step towards fascism.

If Mueller is fired, everyone should take to the streets immediately and not go home. Set a time and place and get the word out so everyone knows where to go if Mueller is fired. Protest should continue every day. Should people only vent once to make a statement and then concede that Trump can do what he wants, that will represent a conceding to an acceptance of the unacceptable.

We must raise loud and clear the single demand — The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Refuse Fascism will be out in the streets helping to organize and deepen the determination of the people to make clear that we are not going to accept a fascist America, and will reach out to all those who have been living this nightmare to step up and join these protests.

On Wednesday April 11, RefuseFascism.org is making a major announcement via livestream online and at meetings in local areas, highlighting a new Call to Action and the plan for driving out this fascist Trump/Pence Regime. Meetings of chapters and local groups are gathering to watch this livestream message and Call, and get our plans in gear for making this real. Tune in wherever you are, join in the discussion and get involved. The time to act is now!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/speech-official-launch-for-the-refuse-fascism-call-to-action-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

We Are At a Crossroads:
The Stakes Are the Future of Humanity

Talk by Andy Zee at the April 11 official launch of the Spring, 2018 Refuse Fascism Call to Action

April 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The following is the text of a talk given by Andy Zee—spokesperson for Revolution Books and a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism—as part of the April 11 livestream of the announcement of the new Refuse Fascism Call to Action and plans for the coming weeks and months.

 

We are approaching a fork in the road. Tonight, Refuse Fascism puts before the world the stark truth that the Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime that is step by step bringing about a fascist America. And, that there is a way, a road that requires courage, conviction, and determination, to stop it. The stakes are high and acutely posed as we meet this evening because the Trump/Pence regime is on the verge of TWO MAJOR LEAPS THAT ALSO POSE FORKS IN THE ROAD FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WITH STAKES FOR ALL OF HUMANITY.

One, should Trump act to fire special prosecutor Mueller, demonstrating that the Trump/Pence regime regards itself as above the law, this will challenge the people of this country to decide whether or not they are willing to go down the road to fascism. Accepting such a move by Trump—even if by just going out into the streets for a day and then going back to business as usual—will signal to the Trump/Pence regime and their powerful backers that they can tear up the rule of law. That we won’t stand in the way of their consolidating all power in their hands as they move to impose a fascist America on the world. Trump already feels the heat and should he fire Mueller he will face tremendous pressure to move fast to suppress opposition at the highest levels of government and throughout society. Will we meet this challenge?

Two, Trump has cleared out all the vacillating, less obedient members of his inner circle, forging a fascist War and Torture Cabal seriously heightening the danger of war—even nuclear war. Gina Haspel, his nominee to head the CIA, is a war criminal, a torturer, who ordered cover-ups of her crimes. Mike Pompeo, the Trump/Pence nominee for secretary of state, is a fascist “Tea Party” leader known for his vicious hatred of Islam and his advocacy of war and torture. Then, there’s John Bolton, who is the new national security adviser, who was a key architect of the Iraq war and the lies that justified it, and is a blood-thirsty war monger who advocates pre-emptively “eliminating” North Korea, even putting forth a bogus “legal” theory to justify such a war crime. Bolton also wrote in the New York Times: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” The Trump/Pence regime is determined to scuttle the Iran deal, to further unleash Israel and Saudi Arabia as attack dogs in the Mideast, all of which greatly increases the danger of even wider, more deadly wars. Do you, do we, have any conception of and responsibility to, the horrors such acts would mean?

Yet, in the wake of these cabinet appointments, there has been no protest. Zero: when it is not even an “open secret” that the Trump/Pence regime is plotting for major war... it’s in their sights and what they are planning for.

SO, HERE TOO IS A CROSSROADS FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY: ARE YOU, ARE WE, GOING TO ACCEPT THE LOGIC AND LIES THAT WILL BE USED TO JUSTIFY THE KILLING OF POTENTIALLY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE? This is a human cost that John Bolton has explicitly said would be worth it if the U.S. could take out North Korea’s weapons. Or, is your morality so poisoned by the ideology of “America First,” or by the comfort of your life, that you will not STAND UP AND ACT? Do we believe that American lives are worth more than the lives of other people? Are We Going To Rise to What History and Humanity Demand of Us and Take to the Streets to Demand that These Moves Towards and Acts of War Must Stop and that the Trump/Pence Regime Be Removed from Power?

The 2018 Call to Act from Refuse Fascism which we are about to present says straight up: “If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, DO NOT ASK HOW THE GERMAN PEOPLE COULD HAVE ACCEPTED NAZISM IN THE 1930s.

These two crossroads—the possibility that Trump will make a decisive move to assert that he and his regime are above the law, and the present danger of escalated WAR, interact with and feed off each other. The question is: WILL WE ACCEPT IT? OR, WILL WE UNITE—COMING FROM MANY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND POINTS OF VIEW—TO STOP THIS THROUGH MASSIVE NON-VIOLENT PROTEST THAT DOESN’T STOP UNTIL THIS ILLEGIITMATE, ILLEGAL, and IMMORAL FASCIST REGIME IS REMOVED FROM POWER?

For over 14 months REFUSE FASCISM has put forth, backed by substantive analysis, that what we face is a REGIME, not the worst of reactionary Republican administrations, but a regime that is radically remaking society in a fascist direction. And that the only way to stop this is through massive, non-violent, sustained protests in cities and towns across the country—protests that don’t stop until the Trump/Pence regime is removed from power.

But, the millions of people who deep in their hearts abhor this regime are being told by the Democratic Party leadership and those who front for it, that there is an easier way to stop Trump: elect the Democrats to Congress. We pose to you: if this is your strategy you don’t understand that this is a fascist regime. If you see the horror of Trump as just a swing of the pendulum, and the midterms as the answer, you will necessarily mute protest. Your blue wave will carry you crashing into the rocks of a regime that will stop at nothing.

More, if you did elect a Democratic House, then what? The Democratic leadership has taken impeachment off the table. They have no answer to what to do about Pence and the whole fascist movement. And, let’s get down to the real deal, for the Democratic Party leadership, their dispute with Trump and Pence is over how to rule and advance the interests of the American Empire. Do you really think that if the U.S. launches bombing in the Mideast or against North Korea that these leaders of the Democratic Party will do anything other than be a part of, or vie for leadership of a wave of American chauvinism? When they do, this will further clear the path for the Trump/Pence regime to further consolidate its power. Recall that every leading Democrat has vowed to “work” with Trump where they can. NO! You Don’t Work With and Normalize Fascists.

We are not calling it fascism to hype anyone into action. But consider: What do you call it when people are demonized and attacked for who they are: immigrants, Black people, women, LGBTQ people, refugees, Muslims, Jewish people, the disabled, Native Americans—any and everyone who opposes the regime’s White America First rule. What do you call it when civil liberties and basic democratic rights are cast aside? You call it fascism. We must not shirk from it, but confront the truth and unite to say NO! Go to RefuseFascism.org to learn more, to donate, to sign the Call, and to get involved.

In closing, I reiterate, we are at a crossroads. The stakes are the future of humanity. Right now the Trump/Pence regime faces increasing necessity—domestically and internationally—to radically restructure U.S. governance and international relations, shattering norms. They have made great progress ramming into policy their “America First” and “Make America Great Again” fascist agenda. The danger of war, potentially nuclear war, and of this regime “dropping the hammer” with new, more draconian laws that take away democratic and civil rights means there must be real urgency to our organizing and forging unity. We cannot predict when the Trump/Pence regime will have made a qualitative leap in consolidating fascism. Yet, we recognize that what they have already set in motion requires that everyone who REFUSES to Live in a Fascist America unite with Refuse Fascism and together we must bend every effort to mount the kind of struggle that is put forth in the 2018 Refuse Fascism Call to Act. And, as part of getting to that point, everyone, every organization, must not allow this regime to launch a war, a massive bombing, or subvert the rule of law by firing the special prosecutor, and take to the streets.

This Nightmare Must End, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/statements-of-support-for-revolution-books-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

Statements of Support for Revolution Books, Berkeley, against Fascist Threat to Burn Down the Bookstore

April 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Revolution Books in Berkeley has been the target of fascist assaults 10 times in the last six months. On March 3, 2018, two fascists threatened to burn down the bookstore. The outrageous attack was video-taped and posted on a number of online media sites, and was viewed 2.7 million times on Now This Facebook alone.

Support has poured in from around the country. Below is a new statement from PEN America, as well as earlier statements from bookstores, authors and other prominent individuals in March.

 

PEN America:

Threats Against Leftist Bookstore Go Beyond Free Expression

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2018

NEW YORK—Revolution Books and its employees must be free to operate without fear for their safety, PEN America said in a statement today.

Revolution Books in Berkeley, an independent bookstore that is affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party, a political party within the United States, and that specializes in selling books from a leftist political standpoint, has been the target of a sustained protest campaign by right-wing activists for the past several months. This campaign has at points flared into threats and violence.

Most recently, on March 3, a group of right-wing activists protested the store. During a verbal altercation caught on video, one protester exclaimed “We’re gonna burn down your bookstore, you know that right?” In a previous protest, captured on videotape, a person protesting the bookstore elbowed a bookstore supporter in the face. In recent months, Revolution Books employees have also reportedly been “doxed” (their personal information shared online without their consent) and received threatening phone calls.

“Political disagreements are one thing. Threatening to burn down a bookstore is another, and is unacceptable,” said Summer Lopez, Senior Director of Free Expression at PEN America. “While protests and calls to boycott are of course free and protected speech, that is no excuse for threats, violence, or sustained harassment. Now more than ever, we need to recognize and cherish the right of bookstores to offer books with diverse points of view from across the political spectrum.”

The protests against the store reportedly began in September 2017, when—after a visit from right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to University of California, Berkeley resulted in protests against his speech—a group of 30 to 40 people stormed Revolution Books and confronted shoppers.

Originally posted at the PEN America website.

 

Nation Books

“Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” 
—Heinrich Heine

We were distressed—but not, unfortunately, surprised—to learn that Revolution Books has been targeted by far-right groups over the last several months. On March 3, fascists threatened to burn down the store.

Here at Nation Books, we are committed to giving voice to under-reported stories and under-represented writers who speak truth to power. We know that these are precisely the ideas that are most feared by far-right groups. Our authors know this, too. In the past year alone, they have been targeted by hate groups and Twitter mobs, and threatened with racist symbols and speech.   

Our authors will not be silenced. But we can’t get our books into the hands of readers without bookstores like Revolution Books. If they are under threat, oracles to knowledge is under threat.            

Don’t let the fascists win.      

Stand strong, Revolution Books, because we stand with you.      

In Solidarity, the Nation Books team

 

Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. Senior Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church      

I am in support of Revolution Books' resistance to the threat of violence from the latest attack on Revolution Books. Under these circumstances, the statement of support that I made in the wake of the initial attack on the bookstore still holds.

 

David Gunn Jr.

Last weekend I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a Now Hear This video documenting a rabid band of Trump supporters aggressively confronting the volunteer staff of a Revolution Books storefront in Berkeley, CA. As I watched the MAGA crowd’s anger intensify, and as it became evident that their actions were motivated by a combination of fear, political intolerance, nativist hatred, misogynistic oppression, and just plain racist thinking, I was struck by two things: 1) the courage and restraint of the bookstore’s volunteer staff; and 2) the explosive rage of their assailants. I have seen this exact type of intolerance before. It is the exact type of intimidation used by anti-abortion protestors. The absolute hatred it fosters is the same type of uncontrollable rage that led Michael Griffin to murder my father. It is dangerous when unchecked, and it typically ends in real violence and death.

Obviously, these people, motivated and encouraged by the Trump regime and the fear of political dissent it engenders, want to eliminate anything and everyone they see as “other.” They want silence. They crave supplication. They want conformity. Today I stand with the staff of Revolution Books in Berkeley, and the larger anti-Trump resistance, and say fuck no we will not conform, be silent, or prostrate ourselves to Trump or his deranged supporters. We must all stand with these courageous volunteers and say No to the Trump/Pence regime and the MAGA extremists. Failure to resist makes us complicit and it dishonors the volunteers’ courage and sacrifice.

Thank you to the staff of Revolution Books in Berkeley for your dedication. Your refusal to kowtow to extremism and your service to freedom and liberty is beautiful and righteous.

David Gunn Jr. is the son of Dr. David Gunn, the first of several abortion doctors who have been assassinated by anti-abortion extremists.

 

Peter Coyote:

Hey, everybody. My name is Peter Coyote, and I’ve got a lot of friends at Revolution Books. As a matter of fact, there’s no one I like to argue with better than people at Revolution Books.

And it’s with humor, and it’s fundamental. But, we don’t agree about a lot of stuff. But there’s one thing we do agree about, and that’s the importance of the First Amendment. And no serious, dedicated intellectuals — who operate a wonderful bookstore, by the way — should ever have to receive the vitriol, the cursing, and the direct threats of physical violence that Revolution Books is receiving.

It’s time to stand up and be counted. You don’t have to be a communist, or a socialist, or a liberal Democrat to understand the importance of a politically free and open bookstore, and the necessity of protecting other people’s right to free speech. If this was a fascist bookstore, I’d hold my nose, but I’d be saying the same thing, as long as they’re expressing their opinions in a peaceful and non-aggressive manner, that’s their right under the Constitution. And anyone who denies it, is basically acting in an anti-American fashion—even if they’re wearing a hat that says “Make America Great Again.”

Thanks for everybody who showed up tonight; I’m sorry I can’t make it. But this is not a local Berkeley issue, this is a national issue. With the press itself under attack, facts themselves under attack, we need to get together, help one another.

Thank you so much.

 

Media Alliance      

Media Alliance is committed to both the free flow of information and the physical and emotional safety of the people of the Bay Area. We believe that it is both possible and necessary to protect freedom of speech while understanding that freedom extends to both the speaker and the audience. We condemn any threat to burn down a bookstore because of fear of the ideas inside or to harass, undermine or intimidate the owners, employees or users of Revolution Books. We also state for the record that hate is not an idea and we reject freedom of speech claims that extend the idea of freedom to statements or actions that impede the freedom of others to live and feel safe in their own community. Your freedom stops at my ability to live and participate in society on an equitable basis, regardless of my race, ethnicity, skin color, immigration status or personal beliefs. The threats to Revolution Books are reprehensible.

 

Northern California Independent Booksellers Association   

The NCIBA encourages open and peaceful dialogue conducted in an atmosphere of respect and civility concerning ideas and philosophies, especially when it relates to free speech. Bookstores of all stripes are repositories and channels for ideas and must be protected.

 "Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel" - Benjamin Franklin, 1760      

Please, let's keep the collision to opinions only, that the light may shine.

 

From Vegas Tenold, author of Everything You Love Will Burn:

A little more than a year ago I was interviewing Richard Spencer in a coffee shop in DC. He was loudly explaining how, if it were up to him, women would not be encouraged to enter higher education. The table next to us was occupied by a group of young women, one of whom got up and came over. Without letting him speak, she explained to him, patiently, as one would to a child, how he was the last person on earth who should voice an opinion on what women should or shouldn’t do, and that his garbage ideas and opinions were not so much offensive as they were laughable. I watched as the woman reduced the infamous Richard Spencer to a blushing, stuttering boy and when she was done she left him staring into the remains of his tea. We sat there for an awkward five minutes because Spencer said that if he left now, the woman would think she had won. It didn’t matter. He could have sat there for five years. She had completely demolished him without breaking a sweat. When fighting racism, bigotry and hatred, we should never forget that our arguments are much, much better than theirs, and that when they threaten us with violence it is because they know they can’t beat us with words. The way to defeat the far right is with knowledge and opinions loudly voiced. It is by gathering and organizing. It is by creating a movement where everyone involved, particularly women and people of color know how powerful they really are. To do that we need places like Revolution Books. I really wish I could be there today, but I’m so glad that you guys are doing what you are doing, and I’m in awe of your badassery facing these people. See you next time I’m in Berkeley.

 

Kevin Ryan, Green Apple Books, San Francisco   

We live in troubling times when the centers of our community that function as conduits of discourse come under attack.  When bookstores, libraries, universities and other places that serve the marketplace of ideas are threatened by mobs that would shut down the full spectrum of dialogue, or by a government that would try to stifle dissent, then civil society itself is threatened.   

Green Apple Books stands in solidarity with Revolution Books

 

From Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland:

As an independent bookstore owner I support Revolution Books right to free speech and their right to refuse service to disruptive, ignorant, abusive,  foul-mouthed,  right-wing protesters.

We are living in scary times.

We have a president who has made name-calling, lying and bullying the national norm.

I stand with Revolution Books and hope others join me. 

Sincerely,

 

City Lights Booksellers and Publishers   

All of us at City Lights Books were disturbed to hear of the recent attempts to intimidate and shut down Revolution Books for exercising their First Amendment rights. We stand in solidarity with our fellow booksellers, and with all those who exercise their rights to think freely, publish and advocate for their beliefs. And we stand firmly against those who would try to stifle dissent.

 

Alexander Akin, Bookseller  

As a fellow bookseller, I prize the freedom to disseminate literature of all sorts - particularly that which challenges the status quo. The threat to burn down a bookstore is a direct assault on the First Amendment. The widely circulated video of the group that threatened Revolution Books reveals a mob mentality almost comical in its stupidity, but no less alarming for its potential consequences. As Heinrich Heine wrote, "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" - "Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people."

 

Bill Petrocelli, Book Passage   

I have just viewed the portion of the video in which a protestor threatened to burn down your bookstore.   I’m appalled. Given the previous threats against your store from what appears to be the same group, this is the type of threat that cannot be ignored. This is the worst kind of attack on free speech, and it is intolerable.  I think you know that other bookstores will be standing with you as you fight these kinds of threats. Please keep us  up to date on anything else that occurs and how we can lend  our voices in support.

 

Luan Stauss, Laurel Book Store, Oakland   

Book stores are exceptionally important pieces of our shared community and culture.  

Whether you agree with the ideas that a particular store chooses to stock its shelves with or not, an attack on any book store is an attack on free expression and open minds.   

Those who have attacked and threatened Revolution Books are attempting to restrict what others are allowed to read, evaluate, and discuss. That is not the value of the American people.  Rather than choose not to shop there, these people are threatening harm not only the stock and staff of the store, effectively proving that they do not value ideas other than their own. Nor do they value the independent thinking of each member of the community.   

I support the protection and value of Revolution Books and condemn those who threaten their existence.

 

Chris Doeblin, Book Culture, NYC   

All of us here at The Book Culture stores in New York hope to encourage the staff of Revolution Books, East and West to stand firm for your right to promote and sell books and ideas as you see fit. Shouting down voices that don’t reflect our own point of view is far too acceptable at this political and social moment. Whether left or right or center, all points of view have the right to be held, published, spoken and sold in book form. It is something that all booksellers must stand together to assert to our fellow Americans. Any attack on a bookstore is an act of censure and any censure that is tolerated is an acceptance of a move away from our sacred democratic values and towards a totalitarian state.   

No Censorship! Book stores must be defended!

 

Danny Caine, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kansas   

The answer to discourse is not violence. To threaten a bookstore is to threaten the community it serves, as the best bookstores (like Revolution Books) are defined by the communities they serve. It is never appropriate to threaten to burn down a bookstore. To threaten the printed word with fire is to imitate the most oppressive and violent regimes throughout history. We must avoid that road. To threaten ideas with violence is to undermine the fabric of our society.

Please keep up the good work!

 

Richard McNeace, Publishers’ Representative, Faherty & Associates   

I appreciate the work that Revolution Books does to educate the public about issues of race and class, and to encourage liberation from oppression.   

I am dismayed that someone who has wrapped themselves in the American flag is not only trying to impinge upon your Constitutional freedom of speech, but is also invoking the Nazi threat of burning books. Thank you for defending the store against them.   

We, in publishing, have to remember that "first they came" for the smallest, the weakest, the least protected. Any bookseller, any publisher, any author, is threatened by what you are facing. Every bookstore - no matter how small or how large - needs to be defended.   In solidarity with you, Richard McNeace

 

Middle East Children’s Alliance   

The Middle East Children's Alliance stands with Revolution Books in opposing fascism in all its forms. This bookstore has been a critical resource for all those in the Bay Area and beyond who are fighting for a more just world.

 

Ula Taylor, Chair of African American Studies, UC Berkeley   

Revolution Books is more than a book store!  It's a place that encourages critical thought and transformative love.  We have to support, protect and advocate for Revolution Books! Their struggle is our struggle!

 

Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree   

An attack on a bookstore is an attack on all of us, on our minds and souls and ideas. It is never to be taken lightly. We applaud the courage of everyone at Revolution Bookstore and stand on your side.

 

Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of the City of Berkeley   

The fear of books and ideas, especially those defending the rights of the underprivileged (justice), and the suppression of them is a mark of tyranny and has no place in a country that pretends to democracy.

 

Marc Sapir, retired East Bay primary care and public health physician   

Though not a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, I agree that the far right attacks on Revolution Books are a derivative and dangerous reflection of the fascism that Trump represents.  On the other hand I also think these militant rightists are a sides-show.  The U.S. today has a Cabinet and President bent upon destroying the foundations of social democracy in the U.S.  Concomitantly, the Trump movement is white supremacist (even if some people who still support Trump have yet to notice what he stands for).  Every single person leading an important Cabinet department of government is hell-bent (and put there by Trump) in order to destroy the purpose for which that department was founded and exists.  From Zinke to Pruitt to de Vos et al they are paranoid destroyers who make these "anti-antifas" look like kindergarteners with their baiting and gamesmanship.  The cabinet people are attacking public institutions and rights fought for by public protest and put in place by Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives and centrists alike over the past century. Those who go after Revolution Books have no problem ignoring that fact to ply their lines.  Refuse fascism, RCP and Revolution Books are right to resist the intimidation of these clowns, but I also think it's best not to allow their behaviors to distract from the broader efforts to resist and uproot the fascists currently in power and reverse their devastating impacts on our country.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/attack-on-syria-a-crime-of-imperialist-monsters-en.html

Revolution #538 April 9, 2018

U.S., Britain, France Attack Syria:
THIS Is a Crime of Imperialist Monsters!

April 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Tonight the U.S., along with British and French forces, launched bomber and missile strikes on Syrian facilities that the Trump/Pence regime claims are linked to chemical weapons production. It’s not known at this writing how many Syrians have been killed or wounded, but there are breaking news reports that at least one strike, on the science institute in Damascus, hit a densely populated area.

This attack is an outrageous, naked act of imperialist aggression.It’s a war crime. And it’s an extremely dangerous escalation of the Syrian war, that has the potential to turn into a regional, even global conflagration.

The U.S. and its imperialist allies have no right to swagger across the planet, like global Mafia bosses, to violently dictate and impose their reactionary interests and agendas on the rest of the world.

EVERYONE should speak out against U.S. aggression and war moves, and join protests taking place this weekend across the country. Click HERE for protests being organized by RefuseFascism.org.

Who Are the Real Monsters?

This attack comes a week after reports, on April 7, of an apparent chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, outside the Syrian capital Damascus, that reportedly killed dozens and injured several hundreds more. The Trump/Pence regime immediately blamed the reactionary regime of Bashar al-Assad and threatened action.

Trump and Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis went on TV to justify their assault in the name of upholding international conventions and deterring the use of chemical weapons.

Since when have the U.S. and other imperialists given a flying fuck about international laws and conventions, or abolishing chemical weapons for that matter? When they supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons in the 1980s? When they flagrantly violated conventions against torture after 9/11? When they violated international law by launching a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 based on lies about weapons of mass destruction?

Tonight Trump said Syria’s reported chemical attacks aren’t “the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.”  Assad is a monster. He and his Russian and Iranian sponsors are butchers who have carried out atrocities against the Syrian people and all contributed to the staggering, criminal toll the 7-year long, reactionary Syrian war has taken.

But Assad’s crimes and monstrosity pale in comparison—in fact there is no comparison—next to the monster imperialists—the U.S., Britain and France—who have carved up, exploited, plundered, and carried out one bloody atrocity after another against the peoples of the Middle East for the last century, including helping fuel the reactionary bloodbath in Syria. And this continues right up to the present day! As Trump bellowed about crimes and monsters, the U.S. was backing Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen and supporting Israel when it shoots down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators—like it did again today.

And Assad is no comparison to the monster now in the White House who calls for openly reinstituting torture, murdering families of suspected “terrorists,” launching war on Iran and a nuclear holocaust on North Korea, and who poses a threat to the whole planet and the future of humanity!

Tonight’s attack was carried out to advance the imperialist interests of these monsters and to reassert their increasingly contested stranglehold on the Middle East—not to end the scourge of war, weapons of mass destruction or to aid the Syrian people.

This situation is extremely dangerous. What does it mean when Trump declares this an ongoing, sustained response? What happens if U.S.-led attacks on Syria lead to a direct clash between the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, with Russia and/or Iran? This would have the potential to spiral into a regional or global cataclysm that could end up taking many thousands, even millions of lives!

The Trump/Pence regime will also, no doubt, use this attack to tighten its grip on power, and push forward its efforts to consolidate fascism.

All this underscores the urgency of taking up and spreading RefuseFascism.org’s call and plan to organize to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power.

Stop Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America

Stay tuned to revcom.us for more coverage of this U.S.-led attack on Syria.