Revolution #548, June 18, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/commitment-and-process-of-building-movement-for-revolution-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Commitment and the Process of Building a Movement FOR Revolution

June 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People need to be serious in whatever commitments they make—they need to follow through on such commitments—and we should set and struggle for this to be the standard and the actual reality. But getting involved in the movement for an actual revolution has a specific dynamic that differs, say, from joining a sports team or a music group. We should not demand “zero to sixty” right away—or, in any case, try to force a leap, rather than winning people to it as part of an overall revolutionary process. What we need to be building is a continually developing mass movement for revolution—yes, an actual revolution—with a vibrant “Ohio,”* through which exponentially growing numbers of people can be actively involved and continue to advance (not all, but many of them) through the dialectical interplay of contributing and learning in continually increasing dimensions. As for those who do reach the “advanced end” of this “Ohio,” again this raises the question of their becoming not only part of the Revolution Club but also making the further leap to becoming part of the communist vanguard; but here again as well, the question of commitment should not be approached (even if in a somewhat “backhanded” way) from the negative, defensive position that amounts to: “We have had people make commitments and then not keep them, and then disappear (‘ghost’) on us; so we are going to make sure you don’t (can’t) do that!” Rather, we should proceed with the recognition that commitment, while it involves and requires (repeated) leaps along the way, essentially corresponds to and is grounded in what aspirations have been awakened, or brought forward, in people, and what they are coming to understand is required in relation to that. So, again, while we do need to have a serious attitude with regard to people making and carrying through on commitments, this must be commensurate with what their understanding and sentiments are at a given point, and most essentially must be in the context of and contribute to the broader mass revolutionary movement that they are part of (or becoming part of) and, while not involving any tailing, should proceed from what they themselves have been won (yes, won through struggle, even at times sharp struggle) to see as a necessary and essential contribution to the revolution.

 

* The “Ohio” refers to the Ohio State marching band’s practice of marching in such a way as to spell out “OHIO” when viewed from above; in this process, band members who begin the first O, then move through the other letters of the word until they are at the last “O”. The point is that there is an analogous process involved in building any kind of progressive or revolutionary movement, in which people “move through” various levels of understanding and commitment, though this is not (“in the real world”) quite so linear and in lockstep as the Ohio State marching band!*

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/457/how-we-can-win-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

To Do This, We Need To Know:

Why we need an actual revolution.
What we need to do now.
How we could defeat them.

Why We Need An Actual Revolution

An actual revolution does not mean trying to make some changes within this system—it means overthrowing this system and bringing into being a radically different and far better system.This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot be reformed. There is no way, under this system, to put an end to the brutality and murder by police, the wars and destruction of people and the environment, the exploitation, oppression and degradation of millions and billions of people, including the half of humanity that is female, here and throughout the world—all of which is rooted in profound contradictions built into the basic functioning, relations, and structures of this system. Only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.

What We Need To Do Now

To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions. We need to build this revolution among those who most desperately need a radical change, but among others as well who refuse to live in a world where this system spews forth endless horrors, and this is continually “justified” and even glorified as “greatness.”

We need to be on a mission to spread the word, to let people know that we have the leadership, the science, the strategy and program, and the basis for organizing people for an actual, emancipating revolution. We have Bob Avakian (BA) the leader of this revolution and the architect of a new framework for revolution, the new synthesis of communism. We have the Party led by BA, the Revolutionary Communist Party, with this new synthesis as its scientific basis to build for revolution. We have the Revolution Clubs, where people can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way, as they learn more about the revolution and advance toward joining the Party. We have the website of the Party, revcom.us, and its newspaper Revolution, which sharply expose the crimes of this system, scientifically analyze why it cannot be reformed, and give guidance and direction for people to work in a unified way for revolution. We have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA and adopted by the Party’s Central Committee, which provides a sweeping and concrete vision and “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society. People in the inner cities, and in the prisons, students, scholars, artists, lawyers and other professionals, youth in the suburbs and rural areas—people in all parts of society—need to know about this and seriously take it up.

Those who catch the worst hell under this system, and those who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system, need to join up with this revolution. Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution. We have seen the potential for this in the protests that have taken place against police brutality and murder, and other ways in which large numbers of people have gone up against the established authorities and the political “rules of the game.” But this needs to be transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization. The organized forces and the leadership of this revolution must become the “authority” that growing numbers of people look to and follow—not the lying politicians and media of this oppressive system—not those who front for the oppressors and preach about “reconciliation” with this system—not those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution. While many people will do positive things in opposing the crimes of this system, we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people—according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation: Where the system and its ruling powers are in a serious crisis, and the violence they use to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate. Where the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution. Where millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government that will be based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. That is the time to go all-out to win. That is what we need to be actively working for and preparing for now.

How We Could Defeat Them

“On the Possibility of Revolution” is a very important statement from the Party, which is posted on revcom.us. It sets forth the foundation—the strategic conception and doctrine—for how to fight with a real chance of winning, once a revolutionary people in the millions, and the necessary conditions for revolution, have been brought into being. Now is not yet the time to wage this kind of fight—to try to do so now would only lead to a devastating defeat—but ongoing work is being done to further develop this strategic conception and doctrine with the future in mind, and the following are some of the main things the revolutionary forces would need to do when the conditions to go all-out to make revolution had been brought into being.

  • When the revolutionary situation is clearly emerging, rapidly transform backbone forces of the revolution into organized fighting forces in key strategic areas, carry out the necessary training, obtain the necessary equipment and provide for the basic logistical needs of this revolutionary fighting force to start the all-out fight, while preventing the enemy from crushing the revolutionary forces at this crucial juncture. Back up these core fighting forces with millions more organized into powerful “reserves” for the revolution.
  • Initiate actions throughout the country, accompanied by a bold declaration to the world, which make clear that there is an organized force determined to defeat the forces of the old order and bring into being a new, revolutionary system. Upon completion of these initial actions, quickly regroup forces for “follow-on” actions and maintain the momentum of the revolution.
  • Counter the enemy’s superior destructive force by seeking to fight only on favorable terms, and actively avoiding decisive encounters, which would determine the outcome of the whole thing, until the “balance of forces” has shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the revolution. Utilize equipment captured from the enemy in ways that fit the fighting strategy of the revolution. Build up political and logistical bases of support, in key strategic areas, but do not attempt to openly control and govern territory, until the necessary “favorable balance of forces” has been achieved.
  • Maintain the initiative—or, if it is temporarily lost, regain it—through surprise and maneuver. Fight in ways the enemy does not anticipate. Carry out actions to keep the enemy off balance, disrupting the concentration and utilization of his forces and contributing to their disintegration. Always conduct operations and act in ways that are in line with the emancipating outlook and goals of the revolution, and turn the barbaric actions of the enemy against him—to win greater forces for the revolution, including those who come over from the ranks of the enemy.
  • Combine strategic direction and coordination for the fight as a whole, with decentralized actions and initiative by local units and leaders. Relying on mass support, the intelligence this provides for the revolution and the denial of intelligence to the enemy, counter the enemy’s efforts to find, fix and annihilate revolutionary leadership and key fighting units. Rapidly replace forces and leaders that are lost—continually train and deploy new forces and leaders.
  • Correctly handle the relation between this all-out fight and the situation—including the character and level of revolutionary struggle—in countries to the south (and the north).
  • When the “balance of forces” has shifted in favor of the revolution, conduct operations aimed at achieving final victory, while continuing to “calibrate” these operations so that decisive encounters are still avoided until the forces of the old order have been brought to the brink of total defeat—and then fully, finally, rout and dismantle the remaining enemy forces.

All this depends on winning millions to revolution in the period that leads up to the ripening of a revolutionary situation. The chance to defeat them, when the time comes—the chance to be rid of this system and to bring something far better into being—has everything to do with what we do now. Everyone who hungers for a radically different world, free of exploitation and oppression and all the needless suffering caused by this system, needs to work now with a fired determination to make this happen, so we will have a real chance to win.

 

Now is the time to spread these messages to all of society

"HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" is a companion to the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA posted on www.revcom.us on May 16, 2016.  Get "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,” together with “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” out everywhere.  Now is the time to spread the word to all of society.

Download "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" HERE (36”x24” PDF): ENGLISH  | ESPAÑOL.  Download “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” HERE (17"x 22" PDF): ENGLISH | ESPAÑOL.  Our suggestion is that they be printed on white bond paper and posted together in the appropriate ways all over the place. Here’s a rough picture of what this could look like.

“HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” now in booklet form!

Printing Instructions:
The PDF of a booklet that includes “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” and the “Points of Attention for the Revolution”is now available. This booklet is 16 pages long. The size of the laid-out pages is 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". It can also be printed 6" x 9". There are two layouts here. 1) One is a single PDF with 16 consecutive, individual pages. 2) The second is a printer's spread; that is, the first spread is page 16 and page 1, the second is page 2 and page 15, etc., so that when it prints and is folded, the pages will be in order. Printers can tell you which layout they need. Readers should make plans for printing this 5 1/2" x 8.5" booklet, raising money, and getting it out in the tens of thousands everywhere as soon as possible.

ENGLISH:
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread

SPANISH:
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/366/what-is-an-actual-revolution-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

What IS an Actual Revolution?

December 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/get-the-bob-avakian-film-on-the-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Get the BA Film on the Trump/Pence Regime Out in the Midst of All That Is Going on in the World!

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Right now is a great, and important, time to get out with special vigor and creativity around the film of Bob Avakian’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, which has taken on even greater importance. The most recent experience shows that not only does this reach all different kinds of people with an analysis that they have not heard anywhere else—and move them—but there is a special receptivity at this moment. Today—with people out in the streets against the government’s ripping away of immigrant children, new genocidal atrocities in the U.S.-backed war in Yemen, talk of “peace” in Korea even as dangers of war remain very real, and more—there is a real moment to seize.

In the coming week, there should be renewed efforts to spread the film far and wide. Get the palm cards out massively and be ready to show clips from the film on phones and tablets, out at protests, concerts, meetings and conferences, on street corners, and everywhere people are gathering. But more than that, actively and creatively seek out and act on opportunities to show the film in different settings and venues, including the many summer festivals and events; people should even head out to farmers markets on the weekends, in liberal suburbs and urban neighborhoods as well as neighborhoods of the oppressed, and set up showings right there with homemade screens.

As we’ve emphasized, if more people see this talk by BA, it could actually change the political equation—giving people a scientific understanding of the situation we face, its causes, and what to do about it. BA points people toward deeper questions about the society we live in. And, very crucially in today’s situation, the film introduces people to BA, the most important revolutionary thinker and leader of our time, who has brought forward a new communism, which provides a path to a radically new, and much better, world. Let’s open this door for many, many more people!

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/watching-ba-talk-at-printers-row-lit-fest-chicago-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Watching the Film of BA’s Talk at Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago

June 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: In light of the current crisis around immigration, we want to urge our readers to spread and show the film of BA’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. This account gives a glimmer of the important potential right now (even as the film showing occurred before the crisis had reached its current state).

 

From readers:

On Sunday, June 10, The Bob Avakian Institute and the Revolution Club of Chicago sponsored a showing of BA’s film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible! This was held in conjunction with the two-day Printers Row Lit Fest where Revolution Books, the Revolution Club, and Refuse Fascism shared a booth. The Lit Fest is the largest book fair in the Midwest and draws thousands of readers and people looking for new ideas downtown to peruse the many booths and the dozens of author events. This was a crowd that needed to be introduced to BA, his new synthesis of communism, and the revolution he leads, and to be drawn to watch the film on the most urgent question facing humanity and the planet.

Just under 50 people attended the showing a block away from the Lit Fest. All day Saturday and Sunday until the showing at 2:30 pm, teams of people saturated the crowds at the Lit Fest with thousands of palm cards for the film in addition to advertising the film broadly throughout the city and on social media in the two previous weeks while spreading HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution and building the movement for revolution.

Thirteen people, of various backgrounds came to the film showing from the Lit Fest. Most were from the Chicago metro area, but there were also people from Texas, Ohio, and one from Europe. None of these 13 people had heard of Bob Avakian or this film before that day. There was also a group from Refuse Fascism and people they had invited, and the Revolution Club and people who heard of it from them, and other individuals. What they had in common was a serious concern about the current situation and a desire to find out what Bob Avakian has to say about it.

It was a quiet crowd during the showing, but people were focused intently on the film. Everyone stayed for the hour-long discussion afterwards and were very thoughtful and serious. Many jumped into the discussion led by a leader of the Revolution Club. There was a sense of the gravity in the room and people were grappling together with the big questions confronting humanity.

The discussion opened with this question posed: Where did BA start in this film and why?

People brought up the lies about the history of this country, the genocide of Native Americans that started with first contact, and the fact that only white male property owners could vote. One person said the Founding Fathers “gave permission to enslave, rape, and trample on the rights of everybody else and this planted the seeds of bigotry that we see today.” Another person said BA starts there “because many people don’t think fascism could come to this country. They think that the Constitution would prevent fascism from getting in power in America, but if you look at the brutal history of this country of legalized slavery and Jim Crow and the hatred and bigotry you can see that it could.” A number of people spoke to various aspects of this, including the internment of the Japanese Americans in World War 2 and how this is going on again today with the dehumanization and terror against the immigrants on the border and tearing families apart. Others spoke to how genocide and slavery, patriarchy, and xenophobia continue right up to literally today with police brutality and murder of Black and Latino people and the persecution of LGBTQ people (most recently in the Supreme Court ruling*).

Early in the discussion, a woman who had come from Printers Row put on the table the importance of getting this film out: “A lot more people need to watch this. Can we show it ourselves? Where can we find it? How can we get this out to many more people?” When asked why she felt that way, she spoke from the heart: “It shook me up—it’s probably 100 percent true or close to it. It was very challenging, very thought provoking. I’ve been feeling I don’t know what to do. I have a fear of being complacent and I don’t want to fall into that. I’m a Christian, but I absolutely recognize this Christian fascism he talked about.”

A young woman student added: “The film is important because people need to see the extent of what’s going on. A lot of people are complacent. They think America can’t be that bad. They don’t realize what’s happening and that it can have very dramatic effects that they are not thinking about.” She asked: “What do we do about the racist and bigoted people and the Christian fascists who pass on their beliefs to their children?”

A Refuse Fascism supporter spoke to this question about Christian fascists and Trump supporters: “Climate change is real, if humanity doesn’t get its shit together we are doomed. The Christian fascists’ answer to all this is ruthless cruelty—walling off the privileged from the ‘hordes.’ The liberal politics of Hillary and Obama cannot deal with that. There is a basis to speak to people, we do share a planet. When people think of fascism, they think of death camps in Nazi Germany. But this country and its crimes give enough reason for people to be freaking out. I read a book about Jim Crow called Slavery by Another Name where Black people were re-enslaved by ‘legal means.’ The history of THIS country is a reason to be freaking out.”

There was some contentious debate among people who had a sense of some of the crimes of this system, about whether the Constitution allows fascism to come to power here, and also over whether there needs to be more emphasis on voting in the 2018 elections as a way to stop it. Some said: “Not all Democrats are bad,” and the discussion went back to what is BA saying about the nature of this country and the point he makes about how it would be terrible if 10 people voted for Trump, but there were millions. One woman argued that both Dems and Republicans are not for the people, but “people power” could elect people on a local level to counteract this.

The leader from the Revolution Club exposed the actual role of the Democrats and the “Blue Wave” and how they are trying to channel the people who hate this regime to collaborate with it: “The Dems say they have to be more like Trump, appeal to his base. They are now giving Trump advice about how to inch closer to war with North Korea. This is aimed at derailing people from opposing this dangerous regime and winning them to join in on the side of ugly American chauvinism. If millions do not break with American chauvinism and take up the orientation of Refuse Fascism of massive, sustained, nonviolent struggle IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY until the whole regime is gone, any impeachment or whatever moves will not be on the terms that are good for humanity.”

A young man said: “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on and even if they don’t like it, the system pumps at people through the media and social media the message ‘We’re doing this to keep you safe, to protect you.’” He said people are not asking “What can I do?” to change things: “They have no sense of empowerment, they don’t think they can do anything to change anything. BA is promoting ‘yes, you CAN make a difference.’ We have to keep pushing that.”

The discussion leader posed the necessity for people to face the actual reality and how dangerous it is. He challenged them to get out of their comfort zone and look to the deeper roots of the problem and then act on that: “We have to go out and change people’s thinking. In the ’60s a handful of people went out and acted on what was true—changed a lot of people’s thinking, including a lot of white people changed.”

There was some important back and forth about BA’s method of looking at the current situation without sugarcoating it, and how he traces the actual foundation and development of this American fascism. One person criticized BA for being too negative—going into all this history of suffering and oppression: “There is almost enough in the film to make us all give up.” The discussion leader addressed BA’s method and approach of always going for the truth, no matter how painful: “BA doesn’t give people pie in the sky. But he does give hope. He analyzes the problem and he puts forward the solution. There are millions of people agonizing over this and want to see a better world for all of humanity. He shows that we do not and cannot just accept that this system is all there is. He’s showing the horror, yes, but he’s also showing what’s the way through it, and how something good can come out of this. He has authored a Constitution for a New Socialist Republic in North America, a blueprint for a radically better society and world. And we have to have our eyes on a better world. We revolutionaries are preparing every day for the revolution that is needed to end this nightmare for humanity. But none of us should close our eyes to today’s world and this fascist nightmare we are confronted with. It starts with us, every person in this room.”

A person from Refuse Fascism said that “I don’t buy into everything BA says or embrace a revolutionary change in society—although I do agree that the crimes of capitalism are very extensive and corrupt—but I do agree with the conclusion BA came to at the end, that we all have to come together to take on this global threat. We have to combine against them and fight this.”

A number of people filled out the evaluation forms after the program, and many said what stood out to them about BA’s talk and the program was the importance of knowing this ugly American history and American chauvinism and its relation to how fascism has developed in America, on the foundation that goes back to the beginning of this country. One woman said it was an eye-opener and a challenge “that the word revolution is being used.”

A number of people said they wanted to be part of spreading the word about this film and/or organizing a showing and also find out more about Bob Avakian and the revolution he is leading. Others volunteered for Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club.


* See “U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in the Colorado Cake Shop Case Is a Major Step in Embedding Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry into Law.” [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/america-targets-yemens-children-for-death-by-starvation-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

America Targets Yemen’s Children for Death by Starvation

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On its border with Mexico, America is ripping children from their parents’ arms.

In Yemen, for the last three years the U.S. and its allies have bombed, starved, and sickened millions of children, forcing tens of thousands of parents to watch them die before their eyes. Now these criminals are deliberately cutting off the meager food aid in Yemen that has been keeping millions of hungry, sick, and malnourished children—and millions of adults—alive.

The U.S. has been neck-deep in the barbaric war being waged by its clients Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to crush the Houthi movement in order to dominate Yemen, control its strategic coastline, and prevent Iran from having any influence there.

Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-made bombers—loaded with U.S. bombs by U.S. contractors, re-fueled by U.S. planes, and guided by U.S. intelligence—have obliterated mosques, markets, apartment buildings, and schools. They’ve targeted Yemen’s farms, factories, hospitals, and water supply, and blockaded shipments of food and medicine—this against a country which has to import 90 percent of its food! The U.S. under Obama OK’ed the war, and now under the Trump/Pence regime, the U.S. is helping escalate it.

Doubling Down on War Crimes, Shutting Off Yemen’s Lifeline

The U.S.-Saudi-UAE strategy has deliberately targeted Yemen’s population—a war of war crimes which has shattered one of the poorest countries on Earth:

*More than 10,000 people, including many children, have been slaughtered.

*Over 22 million of Yemen’s 28 million people need humanitarian aid to survive.

*Some 18 million don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and 8.4 million are on the brink of famine.

*One million people in Yemen are infected with cholera. Last year alone, 50,000 children died from cholera and other easily preventable diseases.

Uncounted thousands of parents are forced to watch their children become so weak they can’t turn over, and when they try to cry no tears come out.

But all that barbarity hasn’t been enough for the U.S.-Saudi-UAE coalition to win. So on June 13, these mass murderers began an assault on Al Hudaydah, the port on Yemen's west coast through which three-quarters of the humanitarian aid—the lifeline for 80 percent of Yemen’s people—flows.

Right now, nearly three million women and children are acutely malnourished, and 400,000 more children are struggling to stay alive, including 100,000 severely malnourished children in Al Hudaydah. All their lives will be put at risk by the fighting. Another 250,000 in Al Hudaydah could be displaced or killed.

The deadly ripple effects will spread across all of Yemen. When Al Hudaydah was temporarily sealed off in November 2017, 3.2 million more Yemenis were reportedly pushed into hunger. Hundreds of thousands, even millions could starve to death in the coming weeks and months. “The fighting in Al Hudaydah and in Yemen is what will devastate children's lives for months and years to come,” a representative of Save the Children says.

America Claims It’s Innocent... as Blood Drips from Its Hands

The U.S. claims it wants to make sure no civilians are harmed, and says it isn’t involved in the assault on Al Hudaydah. What, you give mass murderers planes, bombs, and a target list, and then say you aren’t involved?

But never mind, on Monday, June 11, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dispensed with this bullshit pretense and green-lighted the assault, declaring he understood Saudi-UAE “security concerns.” He expressed confidence that they would preserve “the free flow of humanitarian aid and lifesaving commercial imports”—the same week they bombed a wedding party, a cholera treatment facility, and a refugee center.

Then on Wednesday, the U.S. and other leading representatives of “Western Civilization”—France and Britain—blocked a UN Security Council resolution demanding the Saudi-UAE attack be halted. As all this is taking place, the U.S. corporation Raytheon is maneuvering to sell the Saudis 60,000 more “precision munitions”—bombs and missiles of mass slaughter.

The U.S. reportedly refused a UAE request for intelligence, reconnaissance aircraft, and minesweepers—so its bloody fingerprints on this horrendous atrocity now being undertaken wouldn’t be so obvious. However, the Pentagon had already promised to provide the Saudis targeting intelligence for its bombers, and France agreed to provide minesweepers. (The French, which have special forces on the ground in Yemen, quickly 'clarified' that their minesweepers wouldn't be deployed until after the fighting was over.) So when it comes to starving Yemen, the Western imperialists are indeed able to unite.

Mass Murder by Starvation... a “Justifiable Risk” to Advance Imperialist Interests

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

After the U.S., Britain, and France refused to halt the Saudi-UAE assault on Al Hudaydah, the Guardian reported that they had “accepted the Saudi and UAE claim that jeopardizing aid flows is a justifiable risk if Houthi forces can be ousted from the city.”

For America’s rulers, mass murder by starvation is a “justifiable risk” in order to maintain their stranglehold on the Middle East and the world.

A system that would deliberately starve millions of already hungry children... One that carries out similar towering crimes decade after decade, in country after country... How many more reasons do you need to join the great cause of working toward an actual revolution to overthrow such a monstrous system and replace it with something radically different and far better?

Nearly three million women and children are acutely malnourished, and 400,000 more children are struggling to stay alive, including 100,000 severely malnourished children in Al Hudaydah, like this young boy, June 2016. Photo: AP

MSNBC Wants You to Focus on Russia and NOT U.S. Crimes in Yemen: Ask Yourself WHY

People in America are systematically miseducated and misled by the mass media about issues like the crimes the U.S. has been committing in Yemen. One way the media does this is by refusing to report on them. According to FAIR.org, “On December 26, [2017], the words ‘Russia,’ ‘Russian’ or ‘Russians’ were uttered a staggering 156 times in the broadcasts from 5 pm EST to 11 pm.... On this one day, MSNBC mentioned Russia almost twice as many times in six hours of coverage than it mentioned Yemen in all of 2017.”

This past week, as the assault on Al Hudaydah was beginning, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow did one six-minute segment on Saudi Arabia and the UAE. But it was not about their war in Yemen, their threat to the lives of millions, or the U.S. complicity... it was all about how Robert Mueller was now “investigating efforts by foreign countries to interfere in our election beyond Russia.” As we showed last week, this is part of a whole pattern of setting people up not only to remain silent in the face of the crimes of the U.S. imperialists but to cheer them on. (See “A Week of Rachel Maddow... How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ronald Fucking Reagan.”)

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:8

Clip Free yourself from the GTF!

Yemen mapMap: revcom.us

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/the-US-has-no-right-to-threaten-Korea-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

A Volatile and Still Highly Dangerous Situation

The U.S. Has No Right to Threaten Korea (and the World)—and Neither "Trump's Negotiations" Nor the "Tough-Guy" Warmongering Criticisms of the Democrats Are a Way Out of This Madness

Updated June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.

—Bob Avakian, BAsics, 3:8

This past week the news has been full of the negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-un, leader of the North Korean government. These negotiations seem on the surface to have quieted the threat of war. In fact, the situation is potentially even more dangerous.

For months Trump had been directly threatening North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with annihilation unless they dismantle their nuclear weapons and submit to intrusive inspections throughout the country. He taunted Kim and threatened genocide at the UN itself. Now, with the negotiations, this has temporarily simmered down.

At the same time, very little is known about what actually was and was not said and/or settled. Even the objectives of the Trump/Pence regime itself (as well as the conflicts over this within the regime) remain opaque and in the shadows. Because of this, and because the underlying sharp international contradictions are not resolved, the dynamics of the situation remain highly volatile and continue to be... extremely dangerous. The danger of war is not fundamentally lessened.

Fascist Dynamics Drive the Negotiations Forward—and Could Derail Them as Well

First, there are dynamics intrinsic to the fascist character of the Trump/Pence regime—with its extremely aggressive foreign policy in general and its need to constantly stay on the offensive and to not be perceived as giving into, or losing to, countries over which it asserts its “right” to dominate. Should Trump and those around him (or a faction of those around him) decide that the negotiations did not, after all, put the U.S. in the light they want—if they decide that their concessions to North Korea are being perceived as weakness by rivals and those nations that they oppress—they are capable of changing their posture in the blink of a tweet.

There are also dynamics intrinsic to the shape of great-power rivalry and contradictions, which are also in a highly unstable, unpredictable, and dangerous state—as seen, most notably, in Trump’s attacks on his European, Canadian, and Japanese imperialist allies this past weekend, and his use of aggressive tariffs, but also in the less publicized but even more dangerous ongoing U.S. threats and maneuvers against China. Trump aims to use this disruption to hammer together a new order even more tightly under U.S. domination. The maneuvers around Korea fit into that—it is not about “getting a good deal on beachfront property,” even if Trump plays the fool to get you to think that. There is a method to the seeming insanity of what he is doing, but it is a method full of risks. None of this is under anyone’s control right now.

Anyone who says, “Well, at least we’re safer for now” and that we should wish Trump well “at least on this” after he has violently threatened the Korean people for over a year (and the people of the world as well) is telling us to thank a psychopath, who’s held a knife to our throat, for temporarily pulling the knife slightly back. This regime remains a fascist regime, threatening all of humanity.

The Warmongering of the Democrats

Second, the Democratic Party and its mouthpieces and allies in the media—notably, but not only MSNBC—are actually making the situation far worse from the standpoint of the people of the world. They say that the Koreans are playing Trump for a fool. And they are loudly complaining about how the U.S. is supposedly being sullied by its association with a regime as horrible as North Korea.

To start with the latter theme, North Korea is indeed a reactionary and repressive state, one that has nothing at all in common with socialism or communism. But, if you multiplied all the accusations against North Korea by 1,000, it would still not come close to the horror that the U.S. routinely inflicts on the world year after year, day after day.

Where are the “progressive” commentators and Democratic Party politicians reminding Americans that the U.S. killed three million Koreans after invading Korea during a civil war there in the early 1950s? Where are the commentators who are allowed to mention any of the crimes that the U.S. is carrying out today? Crimes like those in Yemen, where U.S. backing to a Saudi war has caused the murder of perhaps as many as 15,000 civilians, many of them children, put over 20 million Yemenis at risk of hunger and epidemic. Where are the Democratic Party politicians and MSNBC commentators who hammer on the fact that nothing North Korea is doing comes anywhere close to this, and why, therefore, regimes which do not knuckle under to U.S. commands might want to have a deterrent—especially, again, a nation in which three million people had been killed by the U.S. in living memory?

Nowhere.

And why? Because these senators and commentators are trying to mold the thinking of people whose inclinations for a just world could lead them, if they were exposed to the actual truth, toward a much better position. Every cultured, reasonable-sounding argument these people bleat prepares people to approve and collaborate with great horrors. They are training you in a totally upside down view of the world, and they are preparing you to support a war if Trump should suddenly shift positions. Here too, their USA! USA! propaganda and conditioning—this time by the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow, and the rest—dwarfs anything that North Korea has done. Yes, someone is getting played in these negotiations: those who look to these Democrats as any sort of alternative, especially to Trump’s international aggression.

What Must Be Done Now

Third, it is very important in this situation to go out with the real truth to people. Neither of the two positions being allowed into the media—either that we are on the road to “peace” or that Korea is taking advantage of the U.S. and needs to be slapped down—is true. Both positions represent lies and come from a framework of what serves U.S. imperialism.

If you were concerned about the danger of war last week emanating from Trump/Pence/Bolton—the whole Trump/Pence regime—now is not the time to sigh in relief. Now is the time to heighten vigilance and to expose the gangsta threat behind Trump’s newfound honeyed words and the overt bellicose threats from the Democrats and McCain/Graham Republi-fascists. Now is the time to find the ways and means to act to wake people up to the continuing danger to humanity posed by this regime.

We need a different world, where humanity is not held hostage to “great powers” (that is, to imperialist murderers and plunderers) threatening each other and those nations they dominate with weapons of mass annihilation. We need a world in which the insane and relentless compulsion to expand or die at the heart of capitalism, which continually translates into murderous wars, is wiped out and overcome. The only way to get to that better world is through revolution—through overthrowing this system and bringing into being a whole different economy, political structure, and set of values, and spreading this revolution worldwide.

We need a revolution.

Revolutionaries and all who desire a just world have work to do NOW:

Truth Telling and Acting Accordingly

Agitators, organizers, and everyone who sees the real deal should bring out the truth about how to understand what happened at the Trump/Kim summit and do so in a compelling way everywhere.

Revolutionaries should link this to the core message of revolution.

Everyone who cares about the state of the world and wants to act to stop the horrific course it is on should make great use of Bob Avakian’s October 2017 speech on the Trump/Pence fascist regime, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, especially showing the clip on the Great Tautological Fallacy (“Free Yourself from the GTF”) and sending it and spreading it all over.

 

Broad use should be made of BAsics 3:8, including printing up leaflets of it. That quote reads:

Poster size
Leaflet size

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/ripping-children-away-from-their-parents-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

The Ripping Away of Children From Their Parents Is a Crime Against Humanity and Must Stop NOW !

Updated June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Right now, as you read this, your government is ripping terrified children from the arms of their parents on the border with Mexico. In some cases, they have actually torn babies from the breasts of their mothers. They are putting some of these children in cells so cold they are nicknamed “the icebox.” They are putting others in massive camps. Imagine the terror of the child. Imagine the anguish and pain of the parent. Imagine the trauma.

And of course, the Trump/Pence regime justifies this with references to the Bible. There you have it: A regime that commits CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY slamming into place a Christian fascist theocracy.

NO! This must STOP. The line must be drawn here.

This is part of a whole fascist offensive against immigrants. This regime has demonized and slandered them, terrorized and arrested them, brutalized and deported them. And this offensive in turn is the linchpin and battering ram of this whole fascist offensive.

The outrage against this crime must continue. But that outrage must be transformed into actions against this that grow in mass and force until this STOPS. And these actions must be built into a movement to drive this fascist—yes, fascist, face it for what it really is—regime from power.

They have come for the immigrants—now what are YOU going to do?

American History 101: The Kidnapping, Exploitation, Abuse, and Murder of Children

But the attack on children is nothing new for America. Nor is it only happening on the border.

The wealth of America was founded on the kidnapping of millions of people from Africa, many of them children and infants, and the lifelong enslavement of these children. As America grew richer, the selling of enslaved Black children away from their parents became a major feature, a typical scene, of the “American way of life.” Imagine the horror and the heartbreak for those forced into such scenes, decade after decade, stamped on the psyches of human beings for generations.

There’s more. After America stole nearly every last piece of land from the Native people, after America had slaughtered or killed through disease the vast majority of those who lived here before the European invasion, the U.S. government sent many of the children of the survivors to “boarding schools.” These boarding schools—prisons or concentration camps would be better words—stripped the children of their names, their language, and their very sense of self. Again, imagine the terror. Imagine the trauma. Imagine your child kidnapped in such a way, and returned home to you a stranger.

Today: A World of Horror for Children and a Worldwide System That Must Be Taken Down

Today the U.S. system of mass incarceration imprisons tens of thousands of children each year, some locked up with adults. Children like Kalief Browder, who spent three years in a New York jail awaiting trial, most of it in solitary confinement (which international law considers to be torture), for refusing to confess to a petty theft he did not commit. So damaged was he by this that two years after his release, he committed suicide. Multiply him by the tens of thousands of juveniles in the maws of the prison system, many of them abused by sadistic prison guards. But think too of what he felt, and what the tens of thousands today feel, each night as the cell doors clang shut.

Nor is this attack something the U.S. only does at home. In the Vietnam War, they were not heroes but baby killers. These soldiers we are now ordered to revere? In war after war—from Korea to Iraq—they have been part of a machine that killed the children of those they attacked, whether as “collateral damage” or with sick intention.

Today, imagine the children in Yemen. At least 5,000 of them have been murdered by U.S.-supplied planes and bombs, flown by America’s Saudi Arabian proxies (but refueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force). More than eight million people in Yemen, the vast majority of whom are children, are now at risk of starvation due to this U.S.-supported war. And this very weekend the Saudis and their allies are undertaking an offensive that will put many at even greater risk—an offensive that the U.S. refuses to condemn and (and in fact supports behind the scenes).

Or imagine the millions of children of Bangladesh or Pakistan or Cambodia or anywhere else American products are “outsourced.” Imagine their lives each day, working from can’t see in the morning till can’t see at night, grinding their lives away in dangerous factories to produce the clothes we wear on our backs. Or the millions more—yes, millions—who die of preventable disease every single year because it is not profitable for this capitalist-imperialist system to put resources into stopping that.

There is absolutely no need for any of this, it could all be stopped very quickly, except for the fact that this system stands as a barrier to stopping it.

A poet once compared America to the biblical god Moloch, who demanded the sacrifice of children. But this system is no mythical god from a lost age—it is the all too real system of capitalism-imperialism, and it consumes children all over this planet, every single day.

We Need a Revolution

This system cannot be reformed. IT MUST BE OVERTHROWN. To do that, we need a revolution. As we have said before, revolution does not mean some minor changes within this system. Revolution means the actual overthrow—yes, overthrow—of this system, through actually defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression, when the necessary conditions (a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions) have been brought into being. This revolution will dismantle the institutions of this capitalist-imperialist system and build a whole new society on a radically different economic and political basis, as embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

There is a strategy for this revolution in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. There is the leadership to do this in Bob Avakian—who has brought forward a NEW COMMUNISM, a way to understand and transform the whole world—and in the party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. There is a way to fight the power today as you learn more about and get ready for this revolution, in the Revolution Club.

Join—enlist in—this revolution. Be part of putting an end to the horror that the system means for hundreds of millions of children worldwide. Be part of bringing in a future where these horrors really are no more.

Bob Avakian, "Youth deserve a better future"

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/stop-the-demonization-criminalization-and-deportation-of-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

STOP the Demonization, Criminalization and Deportation of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Click HERE to scroll to video and quotes from Bob Avakian about imperialism and revolution

Trump Reaffirms "Zero Tolerance"... for Brown-Skinned People

Pledges to Keep Refugee Children with Their Parents—IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS

June 25, 2018

Imagine the terror of having your child—who you have risked all to protect—suddenly ripped away from you, and the agonizing fear as days, weeks, months go by without being able to talk to her, or even know where she is. Imagine being told by your captors that you may never see your child again. This has already happened to thousands of Latino immigrants on the U.S. southern border.

But wait... Didn’t Trump sign an executive order last Wednesday reversing the policy that has led to the abduction of around 2,300 children, declaring “We’re keeping families together and this will solve that problem.”?

Isn’t this whole crisis over?

FUCK NO! Trump’s executive order was like someone on the defensive in a fight throwing dust in his opponent’s eyes to blind and confuse him, and then immediately slamming his head into a wall.

Read more

Protests Across the Country Denounce the Cruel Separation of Immigrant Children from Parents

From large metropolitan areas to smaller cities and towns, people are taking to the streets in righteous outrage and protest against the government's cruel and criminal moves to separate immigrant children from their parents.

Read more

Los Angeles, California: "At the detention center in downtown LA where immigrants are being detained. We waved our phones at them, and they waved what looked like reading lights back at us and flipped the lights on and off in their rooms." @MalteseAnna

Light projection on the San Francisco Federal Building.

Read these BAsics quotes in the slideshow below, or click to read and share them on a full page.

“Todos Somos Ilegales/We Are All Illegals” by Outernational, with Residente Calle 13, Tom Morello, Chad Smith

 

HUMANITY NEEDS REVOLUTION AND COMMUNISM!

FIGHT THE POWER, AND TRANSFORM THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION!

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/Bob-Avakian-imperialism-and-revolution-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Bob Avakian on Imperialism and Revolution

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

BAsics 5:8

“The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.”

BAsics 3:8

Child labor in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi child laborers work at a balloon workshop in Kamrangir Char, 2009. Industries from designer clothing to recycling, and everything in between, contracted by the U.S. and other imperialists to countries like Bangladesh, India, and Ethiopia, involve vicious exploitation and child labor.

Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying, “Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?”...Why? I’ll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:14

"In the U.S. you have many different nationalities of people, and one of the key factors in making a revolution in this country is going to be developing the struggle, including among white people, to take on and uproot the whole history of oppression of Black people, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Native Americans, Asians, and so on. You are never going to make a revolution in this country without that being central and pivotal. But you're also never going to make a revolution without a vanguard that bases itself on a scientific approach to these questions—and to every other decisive question—a vanguard in which everybody contributes and struggles with each other on the basis of striving to grasp that scientific approach, and on that basis battles out what is required to make revolution and to transform society and the world, to put an end to all oppression."

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:15

It is hardly conceivable that there could be a revolution in the U.S. which didn’t at some point and in various ways significantly interpenetrate with and have mutual interaction and mutual influence with revolutionary struggles being waged by the people in neighboring countries—especially in Central America.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:21

 

Seven Mexican shepherds were hanged by white vigilantes near Corpus Christi, Texas to drive Mexican landowners from the land, November 1873.
Mexicans were also frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century. Above, seven Mexican shepherds were hanged by white vigilantes near Corpus Christi, Texas to drive Mexican landowners from the land, November 1873.

"Now, of course, slavery was not the only factor that played a significant part in the emergence of the U.S. as a world power, whose economic strength underlies its massive military force. A major historical factor in all this was the theft of land, on a massive scale, from Mexico as well as from native peoples. But, in turn, much of that conquest of land was, for a long period of time up until the Civil War, largely to expand the slave system. "Remember the Alamo," we are always reminded. Well, many of the "heroes" of the Alamo were slave traders and slave chasers....And expanding the slave system was a major aim of the overall war with Mexico, although that war also led to the westward expansion of the developing capitalist system centered in the northern United States."

BAsics 1:2

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 5:7

 

 

 

What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/47avakian-the-new-communism-5-stops-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. An updated pre-publication PDF of this major work—now including the appendices—is available here.

This excerpt comes from the section titled “III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution”

The “5 Stops”

Here I want to talk about the “5 Stops” that appear regularly now on the revcom.us website. This is not just, “Oh, here are five good things to talk about, or five things that are wrong in society,” in some general sense. This is a strategic formulation. If you go back to “Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution,” these “5 Stops” represent concentrations of major social contradictions; and they are contradictions which are not resolvable under this system. Think about this: The genocidal persecution of Black and Brown people, police brutality and murder and mass incarceration; the oppression of women, and oppression based on gender and sexual orientation; what’s happening to the environment; the hounding and terrorizing of immigrants; and the wars of occupation and crimes against humanity being carried out under the domination of this system—all these are major concentrations of social contradictions, contradictions which are not resolvable under this system, certainly not in a way that would be in the interests of the masses of people, or ultimately humanity as a whole. So that’s the point: They represent concentrations of major social contradictions, and they are contradictions that this system cannot resolve in the interests of the masses of people—both things are very important, they have strategic implications. It’s not just, “Oh, they’re concentrations of social contradictions—isn’t that interesting?” But because they are, and as a reflection of the fact that they are, concentrations of major social contradictions, they speak to what a lot of people are concerned about in one way or another, or to one degree or another. Not everybody is concerned about all 5 of them, but probably everybody is concerned about at least one of them, and some people are probably concerned about all of them. (It’s kind of like that Lincoln statement—or was it Bob Dylan?: You can fool some of the people all of the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that detour!) Anyway, this is the point: These “5 Stops” speak to things that, in one way or another, to one degree or another, people are concerned about, because they are concentrations of major social contradictions.

Way back in the days of the RU (Revolutionary Union), we used to have this formulation: develop fighters on one front into fighters on all fronts. And we should go further and say: strategically develop them into fighters for the whole thing. But there is an important point to this: People get drawn into motion by their concern about one thing or another, but people are not closed-minded—everybody’s not closed-minded and narrow-minded. Many people don’t say, “Oh, this is my issue, I don’t care about that other stuff”—not everybody thinks like that, even though some opportunists do. In fact, a lot of people don’t think like that. As they learn about other things, many people get interested, they develop a broader vision, as they come in contact with people who bring this to them. This is an important part of why I have been giving emphasis to Lenin’s point about going among all sections of the people. There is the “apartheidization” of this society, but we can’t accept that. We have to knock that down. We have to send parents whose kids have been killed by the police onto the college campuses to talk to students:  “This is the reality of what goes on out here.” It’s not that most students, when they hear about that, don’t care. But right now, for the most part, they don’t know anything about it. And, look, I hate to say it, but a lot of them have had their thinking conditioned not only by the ruling class in a general sense, but also by other people. I’m sorry, but since the 1980s, there have been more than a few Reaganites running around among the basic masses, people whose outlook is very similar to Ronald Reagan, in terms of an overwhelming focus on just getting rich, in ruthless competition with other people. You see it in hip-hop—“get rich or die trying”—all this kind of crap. Now, of course, that is not all there is to hip-hop; but that kind of culture has been promoted by the ruling class, because it serves their interests. And it’s had an effect, not just on the basic masses, but on a lot of these middle strata people: their view of the basic masses is, to a significant degree, influenced by and filtered through that culture. They don’t know the basic people, but what they know, or think they know, is filtered through that culture. So this is something we have to combat, bringing to people an understanding of the actual relations in society and how this affects people.

We have to go among all sections of the people. Through work and struggle with people, we have to enable them to develop from people concerned about, and fighting on, one front into fighters on all fronts—and, fundamentally, fighters for the whole thing, to get rid of this, all these “5 Stops,” and everything that’s concentrated there in terms of the whole system which gives rise to this repeatedly, spews it forth like a sewer backing up.

So this has strategic importance, these “5 Stops.” People should understand how this relates to our strategic orientation of United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat, because it’s not just a question of different interest groups: “Oh, you are interested in this, and you over there are interested in that, and somehow we can sort of add that all up”—“intersectionalism” that will somehow add up to a proletarian revolution. No. There needs to be the solid core running through all this. But these “5 Stops” are areas of concern for people and, if you want to use a somewhat homely phrase (or metaphor), they are on-ramps for people to get involved with the struggle, and to connect with people who are concerned about many different things, as well as people who are concerned about the whole thing. I’m not sure to what degree these “5 Stops” have really been understood in the way they should be. Why is it we keep having them on the website so prominently? People should think about that: What are the strategic implications of that?

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/memo-to-kyrie-irving-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Memo to Kyrie Irving: You Are Acting Like an Ambassador of Ignorance, Clown for the Oppressor, and Objective Promoter of a Slave Mentality

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.”

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 4:1

Kyrie Irving has now tripled down on his previous remarks that the Earth is flat. In a recent interview he wiggled around when asked to state his view outright. But when the interviewer confronted him with the fact that a sixth grade class in Ohio refused to believe that the Earth is round because of Irving, he just laughed.

You say, “I am—a generational leader.” Yes, unfortunately—and you are leading people in exactly the wrong direction, with very bad consequences. Here’s three ways you are wrong, Kyrie Irving, and serving the oppressor.

First, the Earth is round, OK?! Humanity has known this for centuries, since the time people studied the nighttime skies. They figured out that the curved shadow of Earth on the moon during a lunar eclipse was caused by the roundness of the Earth. A round Earth is also the reason ships appear and disappear over the horizon and why if you sail on a ship from America to Africa or fly a plane across the Earth, you don’t fall off the edge!

Beyond that, people have used the evidence they could find to draw conclusions, first through observations of the motions of the stars, then through telescopes and calculations, and finally through direct social practice to prove that the Earth is round and rotates around the sun. They tested their ideas against reality and learned more through that. Every independent line of evidence confirms and mutually reinforces this. People literally paid with their lives for this kind of knowledge—Giordano Bruno was burnt alive by the Catholic Church in 1600 for advocating that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than an Earth-centric universe, because this knowledge contradicted the Bible. Contrary to what you say, Kyrie Irving, there is no credible scientist today who says that the Earth is flat and no, history does NOT show that “our biggest scholars” thought that.

Second, you are badly misleading people about how knowledge is gained. You make excuses for pushing this wrong and ignorant idea by saying, “I wanted to open up the conversation, like, ‘Hey man, do your own research for what you want to believe in.’ Our educational system is flawed. History has been changed throughout so much time.”

But the question is NOT doing the research to back up “what you want to believe in.” You might want to believe that a daily tablespoon of vinegar will stop cancer because you don’t want to undergo a painful treatment, but if you really want to get well you need to know the truth whether “you want to believe in” it or not. Again, the question is NOT doing the research to back up “what you want to believe in,” but to learn what IS true, both the directly observable and known facts and what reflects the underlying workings confirmed by evidence.

Luckily, there is a way to find out the truth—the scientific method. And everyone can access this method. Bob Avakian has broken this down in a way that everyone can understand in “Two Very Different Leaps”—go here to read it. And Ardea Skybreak goes at this from another angle in her book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, especially this section.

You might “want to believe,” Kyrie, like Kanye West does, that “400 years of slavery sounds an awful lot like a choice.” But the evidence—the records of slave revolts, the actual written accounts by slave masters themselves, and so on prove that a) slavery was brutally enforced, and b) people in fact DID rebel against it, especially when they saw an opening to really strike a blow.

You have smuggled in one element of truth in what you say to sweeten up your poison. It is true that “our educational system is flawed.” In fact, that understates it—“our” educational system is controlled by the oppressor and consistently promotes upside down interpretations of the evidence in order to back up that system of exploitation and oppression. It systematically denies and keeps people from critical thinking and a scientific approach to the world and society.

But the correct response to that is not to use it as a justification to promote asinine ignorance and “know-nothingism” in the form of questioning scientific truths that are both hard learned and hard fought. The correct response—from people both within and outside that educational system who truly want to get at the truth—has been to fight hard to bring to light the actual truth based on the actual evidence.

Contrary to what you say, history—the past of human society—has not changed. But our understanding of history has changed as more facts have come to light, and as people have come to more deeply understand the underlying dynamics and essential aspects of different periods. Different “frameworks” of understanding contend over what is truly correct, especially during times of big social changes. Reactionaries, white supremacists, deluded pop stars, and bootlickers may argue, for example, that slavery was not so bad, that it was not connected to capitalism, and that the legacy of slavery has no relevance to today—but the evidence belies this. Much of this was only brought to light with the basic scientific understanding of how history changes that was first developed by Karl Marx—historical materialism. It was further fought out and deepened, especially over the past 60 years since the Black liberation struggle of the 1960s, and the understanding of both the many-sided depth of the legacy of slavery and the whole history of the oppression of Black people, as well as how this can be truly overcome, has been developed by Bob Avakian.1

But the history itself—what really happened, the facts of the matter so to speak—has NOT changed. What HAS changed is the depth of the scientific understanding that has been developed and is now available... to those willing to “go there.” To use the fact that our understanding of history changes and develops to now say we can’t know anything for sure—as you are doing, Kyrie—is to do a grave disservice to the masses who badly need this knowledge and the scientific method... and to do a big favor to the oppressors who rely on ignorance and superstition—on mental shackles—to keep people in physical chains.

Finally, by promoting the idea people can’t know or be certain of any truths, you contribute to paralyzing them from acting on what they actually do and can know! This is especially dangerous and harmful, given your influence on Black and Latino youth, for whom this system has no future. Do you really want to be complicit in discouraging and effectively denying masses of people knowledge of science and a scientific method? How can you question and resist if you can’t tell what is really true?

To put it bluntly: you are promoting a slave mentality, whether you intend it or not.

Right now, that serves the agenda of Trump and Pence and their education secretary Betsy DeVos—far better than they ever could themselves. You are using your credibility among oppressed youth to promote exactly the Bible-thumping ignorance these vicious oppressors want to promote. For all your bullshit about “stimulating people to think,” you are backing up the modern-day master as surely as a Black overseer whipping a slave for daring to read did back in the day.


1. For example, see Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, Birds Cannot Give Rise to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon (Part 1, Part 2), THE NEW COMMUNISM, Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and many other works.  [back]

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/476/avakian-leap-faith-leap-rational.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

"A Leap of Faith" and
a Leap to Rational Knowledge:
Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps,
Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods

by Bob Avakian

January 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Editors' note: The following consists of major parts of an article written by Bob Avakian in response to a letter that was sent to him via RCP Publications. In addition to attacking communism, that letter also argued against the basic scientific viewpoint and method and insisted that atheism is just another form of religion. This article responds to a number of points in that letter while focusing on the fundamental difference between a scientific outlook and method—and more particularly the scientific outlook and method of communism—on the one hand and, on the other hand, a religious worldview which relies on “leaps of faith.” The article in its entirety can be found in Revolution #10, July 31, 2005, and is posted at revcom.us.

Not long ago I received a letter from someone who was provoked by hearing parts of my talk, “God Does Not Exist—We Need Liberation Without Gods,” that were played by Michael Slate on Pacifica radio station KPFK in Los Angeles.1 In that letter, there are many distortions....

But what I want to focus on here—because it is a very important point of distortion which not only characterizes this letter but is much more broadly promoted, particularly by religious fundamentalists, and is the source of considerable confusion and misunderstanding—is the insistence that communism (and atheism generally) is actually just another form of religion and that in fact not only communism but all scientific thinking involves just as much a “leap of faith” as does religion. In this article, I will discuss how this is completely wrong and will examine the crucial differences between religion and “leaps of faith,” on the one hand, and science and the scientific method—including communism, with its thorough, systematic and comprehensive scientific outlook and method—on the other hand.

This claim that communism (and more generally a scientific outlook and method) is just another form of religion is concentrated in the following from this letter:

“I hope you’re not offended that I call your atheism faith. I’m sure you realize atheism is a faith system too. And since you’ve pinned you’re [sic] hope on its truthfulness, we can call it your religion. How about that!? Bob Avakian is a religious man!

“You probably realize what most evolutionists don’t since no one was there to record the Big Bang, it too is just as much a leap of faith as the biblical version of creation. But no worries, you can always make your case stronger by stating forcefully, ‘Evolution is a fact!’”

The heart of the matter here—and what is fundamentally wrong in the viewpoint of the writer of this letter—is the attempt to distort what is involved in the application of a scientific method and approach, in the process of scientific investigation and analysis and in the drawing of scientifically based conclusions. More specifically, what is fundamentally wrong is the attempt to say that the actual leaps that are involved in arriving at rational knowledge of things—including through the application of the scientific method—somehow amount to the same thing as “leaps of faith” that are characteristic of religion. In fact, these are profoundly and radically different kinds of “leaps,” and digging into the difference will not only further expose the confusion and outright distortions and misrepresentations in this letter, and in the method of thinking of its author, but much more importantly can help clarify the fundamental difference between a scientific and a religious approach to reality and to changing—or not changing—reality, including human society.

The Leap From Perceptual to Rational Knowledge

As Mao Tsetung pointed out in his important philosophical works, such as “On Practice,” in the gaining (or accumulation) of knowledge by people, there are two basic stages: The first is the stage of perceptual knowledge, and the second stage is that of rational knowledge. And arriving at the second stage, of rational knowledge, not only involves and requires building on what is learned through the first (perceptual) stage but also making a leap in systematizing what is perceived: identifying the “patterns” in what is perceived and the essential character and basic identity of things that lie beyond the outward appearance of things. Getting into this further, and using some examples from “everyday life” can help illustrate this fundamental point. It can make more clear the fundamental difference between the actual acquiring of rational knowledge, through a leap from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge, and a religious “leap of faith” which does not, and cannot, lead to rational knowledge.

As Mao also pointed out, when we first encounter anything, we see it in only a partial and scattered way, observing some of its features but not what “ties them together”—what is the essential character of something, which gives to that thing its identity as such—and how it is both different from and at the same time relates to other things. This is the stage of simply perceiving something, of perceptual knowledge. For example, many people who are not “into football” have commented that, in looking at a game of football (on television, for example) it just appears that a lot of very bulked‑up guys, wearing a lot of strange equipment, are running around and violently banging into and jumping in piles on each other! But, if you watch football for a while and persevere in attempting to grasp what is actually going on, you can begin to see the “patterns” involved, and the “rules” and “laws” that actually govern and give shape and identity to what is happening. Football fans are familiar with the basic nature and essential character of the game, with its “rules” and “laws,” and can readily offer all kinds of opinions and judgements about what is going on, based on an understanding of all this. But, of course, when such fans first started watching football themselves, they were not familiar with all this and it seemed to them, too, to be a bunch of random, arbitrary and “disjointed” activity. So what is involved in moving from that to an understanding of the nature of this game and its governing “rules” and “laws” is a matter of accumulating more and more perceptual knowledge and then making a leap, “putting this together” and systematizing it—analyzing it and making a synthesis of what is at the heart of it, what are the key “patterns” involved and what “ties it all together” and gives this game its character as “football.” Now, quite often this actual leap, from perceptual to rational knowledge, goes on largely unconsciously after a certain point—in many cases, the person involved is not aware of consciously making this leap to rational knowledge—but it is a real leap nonetheless and leads to a higher form of understanding, rational knowledge. (Whether it is worth it to engage in the process and effort of moving from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge with regard to football is, of course, something that is culturally and socially influenced, and also involves matters of personal preference within that context—and I will not offer any opinions or judgements about this, one way or the other, here!)

But let’s contrast this kind of leap—a leap from perceptual to rational knowledge of real things—to a “leap of faith.” Let us imagine someone saying, “I don’t have to watch football, or listen to explanations about it, I can come to understand it because ‘god will reveal it to me.’” That would be putting forward a “leap of faith” as the way to acquire knowledge of something (in this case football). But, in fact, this kind of “leap” will not lead to actual knowledge of real things, nor can it be tested by applying means and methods that relate to the actual world of real things—there is no way to test that person’s assertion that “god will reveal” this knowledge to them, there can be no evidence of this, outside of their own claim about it. But I certainly wouldn’t advise you to be guided by that kind of “knowledge,” supposedly arrived at through that kind of “leap of faith,” if you are going to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to bet on football games!

Let’s take another example: a trial in which someone is accused of robbery. The prosecutor will try to present evidence (witness testimony and/or other evidence) which shows that the defendant was at the place where the robbery occurred, at the time it occurred, and perhaps that the defendant was found in possession of a weapon that is very much like (or even identical to) the weapon used in the robbery, and so on. On the other side, the defense may try to show (through witness testimony, etc.) that the defendant was somewhere else entirely at the time the robbery occurred, and/or that the weapon the defendant was found with is in fact a different weapon than the one used in the robbery, and so on. When the jury moves to render a verdict, they will be called on to make a leap from perceptual to rational knowledge—to “sift through” the testimony and other facts and get to the essence of what is shown by that evidence. Of course, the jury may do this poorly—they may be influenced by prejudices, particularly against the defendant, and/or they may simply make a mistake in their attempt to determine the “patterns” and the “essential reality” of what has been presented to them—but that does not change the fact that what is required, what they are called on to do, is precisely to make a leap from facts presented (testimony, etc.) to a conclusion about what those facts reveal that is essential about what is at issue (whether or not the defendant committed the robbery). Once again, what is involved is a leap from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge.

If, for example, the defense presents 10 witnesses, including people who have no relation to the defendant, who testify that, at the time the robbery was committed, they are certain that they saw the defendant in a different location entirely from where the robbery occurred—and especially if the prosecution is not able to “shake” those witnesses with regard to this testimony—then it is only logical to conclude that the defendant did not commit the robbery and must be found not guilty. But the important thing, in relation to the points being discussed here, is to recognize that what is involved in arriving at that verdict is “drawing a conclusion from the facts”—which again involves and requires an actual leap from perceptual knowledge (hearing the testimony) to rational knowledge (making the determination, drawing the conclusion, that the person could not have committed the robbery). That this is the only logical conclusion that could be drawn from the facts presented may tend to “blur” the fact that there is a leap involved—that reaching this conclusion requires going beyond the mere hearing of the facts to “putting the facts together” and grasping the essence of what those facts show. And it is important to emphasize that what is involved is precisely a logical conclusion—one that is arrived at by applying logical reasoning to enable the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge.

Again, let us contrast this with a “leap of faith.” If someone were sitting on the jury and they said, “I know that boy is guilty because ‘The Lord told me so’”—that would be the opposite of applying logic and reason: It would be a “leap of faith,” as opposed to the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge—a “leap of faith” that would fly in the face of the facts and of the logical process involved in making a radically different kind of leap: a leap from perceptual to rational knowledge. And I don’t think I have to make much of an argument that it would not be very desirable to have people on a jury who would be proceeding by making those kinds of “leaps of faith” and determining the fate of someone in that way.

Or, let’s take a final example from “everyday life.” If a small child observes traffic—and especially if what is involved in the flow of traffic, etc., is explained to the child by an adult—the child will come to see, before too long, that if they step out into moving traffic, they will be badly hurt, or even killed: they will have gone from seeing what at first appears to be the random movement of vehicles, without a definite “pattern” and character, to understanding what the “pattern” and the essential character of this movement of vehicles is, and when it is safe, and not safe, to cross the street. Here again what is involved is the kind of leap from perceptual to rational knowledge that we have seen illustrated in previous examples. But if the adult instructing the child were to tell them, “It is safe to walk out in front of the moving traffic, because ‘god will protect you’”—that would be, not a leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, but a “leap of faith” that flies in the face of reason and logic—and would almost certainly have terrible and tragic consequences.

Scientific Knowledge and the Scientific Method

And if this crucial difference between these two radically different kinds of leaps—the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, as opposed to a “leap of faith”—applies, and is of real importance, in “everyday life,” this is so in a concentrated way with regard to scientific knowledge: knowledge that is acquired and tested through the consistent and systematic application of the scientific method—in contrast with “leaps of faith.”

The scientific method involves carrying out investigations of reality, including through observation and experimentation, to accumulate facts which then are systematized into a theory which gets to what it is that these facts have in common, what patterns they reveal, and what is the essential character of what is involved. Then this theory is tested by applying it once more against the standard of what can be learned through further experimentation and observation proceeding according to this theory, to see if the results are consistently in line with what is predicted by this theory. If, in the application of this scientific method, results are obtained—things are observed or results produced through experiments, and so on—that contradict the theory; if, for example, things can be shown to happen which this theory predicts could not happen; then it must be concluded that the theory is wrong, or at least that it contains flaws (is wrong in some respects). If, however, after repeated testing, from a number of different directions and over a whole period of time, the results continue to be consistently in line with what is predicted by the theory—and no results or observations lead to facts which are in contradiction to the theory, or cannot be explained by it—then it can be concluded that this theory is correct. But, even in achieving the status of a generally accepted scientific theory, any particular theory must not only be subjected to repeated testing but it must also be subjected to review by other scientists, particularly those with knowledge and expertise in the particular field of science that the theory relates to; and if it “passes” that review—if none of these scientists can show that the theory is flawed, or simply wrong, if there are no results which can be shown to contradict the theory and its predictions about reality—then the theory will acquire general acceptance in the scientific community as a valid and true explanation of reality (or that part of reality that the theory deals with).

Now, it is true that the development of scientific theories generally involves the formulation of initial “conjectures” and “preliminary hypotheses” about things—in other words, in a sense scientists often make “informed guesses” about the way something in reality might be, even before they can provide proof of this. But, first of all, even these preliminary hypotheses are themselves based on previously accumulated, and verified, evidence about the way reality actually is—as opposed to “leaps of faith” and religious declarations about things, which we are simply expected to believe without any concrete evidence or the prospect of ever being able to obtain such evidence. Secondly, scientists take their preliminary hypotheses and systematically test them in the real world, and only on that basis are new scientific facts generated which can then contribute to the development of generally accepted scientific theories.

Of course, scientists can, do, and have made mistakes. This has happened not only with individual scientists but at times even with the scientific community in general and those who are regarded as “experts” and “authorities” in various fields of science. Scientists are after all human beings with limitations; they live in and are part of society, and they are influenced in various ways by the ideas which prevail in society at a given time. At the same time, as further knowledge is acquired—as further experimentation and observation goes on, not only in direct relation to a particular theory but in science, and indeed in the world at large—any particular theory will be subjected to continued testing and review, and it may turn out that new things that are learned call into question parts, or in some cases even all, of a particular theory, and then the theory will have to be modified or even completely discarded. But the crucial point is this: The scientific method provides the means for continuing to investigate reality and continuing to learn more about it, and on that basis to correct mistakes that are made.

The understanding of reality that is gained, through the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, becomes, in turn, the basis, the foundation, from which further perceptual knowledge that is accumulated is analyzed and synthesized to make further leaps of this kind (from perceptual to rational knowledge yet again...and then again...). So the acquiring of knowledge—by individuals and by society and humanity overall—is not a “one‑time” thing, but an ongoing process. This applies to “everyday life” and it applies in a concentrated way with regard to the conscious and systematic application of the scientific method. This relates to another point Mao emphasized: beyond the leap from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge, there is a further leap—from rational knowledge to practice, in the course of which material reality is changed and further perceptual knowledge is gained, laying the foundation for a further leap to rational knowledge...and on...and on.

A “Leap of Faith” is a Leap Away From
a True Understanding of Reality

In opposition to this, a religious worldview—which insists on a reliance on faith and “leaps of faith” instead of investigation and analysis of the real world and the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge—such a religious worldview cannot lead to a true understanding of reality, and in fact is bound to lead away from such an understanding in fundamental ways. Of course, not all people who are religious are “scriptural literalists”—who insist on an acceptance of the Bible (or some other scripture of some other religion) as the declared word of a supposed all‑powerful and all‑knowing supernatural being and therefore the “absolute truth.” In fact, there are many religious people who accept a good deal of the conclusions of science, and there are more than a few who try to reconcile their belief in some kind of supernatural being with an acceptance of the scientific method and its results, as applied to the realm of material existence. At the same time, however, their religious viewpoint insists that there is some other realm, of non‑material existence, when in fact there is not; and there has never been and could not be evidence offered for the existence of this non‑material realm which could meet the test of scientific investigation. And it is a fact that even those who attempt to reconcile religious belief, of one kind or another, with a general acceptance of the scientific method and the results of applying this method, cannot consistently do so, because those religious beliefs are bound to conflict, at certain times and in certain ways, with the conclusions reached by the application of the scientific method.

The Big Bang, Evolution, and Revolution

Let’s return to a core argument of this letter, as expressed in the part I quoted above. Let’s take what has been said here—contrasting the scientific method with a religious worldview, and contrasting in particular the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge with “leaps of faith”—and apply this to examples the writer of this letter emphasizes: evolution and the Big Bang. It is a fact that evolution and the Big Bang have in common that they are scientific theories that provide explanation for fundamental aspects of the development of the known universe (the universe that is known to human beings) and of our earth and the living things, including human beings, on this earth. (In very basic terms, the Big Bang theory says that the universe, as we know it today, including our earth, originated with a cataclysmic [sudden and violent] explosion of matter billions of years ago.) At the same time, while there is substantial scientific evidence supporting the theory of the Big Bang, the theory of evolution is even more firmly established and has been confirmed by over 150 years of scientific testing and review, since the time that Charles Darwin first systematized the theory of evolution in the 19th century. This includes the understanding that human beings evolved out of a long succession of life-forms that have evolved over several billion years, and it includes clear evidence that human beings and the great apes are closely related biologically, and that in fact they shared common ancestor species from which they diverged along separate evolutionary paths only a few million years ago. The very important series The Science of Evolution, by Ardea Skybreak, which appeared in our Party’s newspaper (and which I understand will be published in the not-too-distant future as a book by Insight Press2), provides a thorough explanation of the theory of evolution and how it has been demonstrated—repeatedly, from many different directions, and by the application of the scientific method in many different fields—to be true; how continuing scientific investigation and summation, from many different fields of science (including genetics as well as the fossil record and many other “fields of scientific inquiry”) continue to validate and provide further evidence for evolution; how there has not ever been a single scientific discovery or verified fact which in any way would disprove evolution or call it into question; how, in sum, evolution is one of the most well-established and fundamental theories in all of science, one of the most fundamental components of a true understanding of reality. And The Science of Evolution also thoroughly exposes and refutes attempts by religious fundamentalists and some others to call evolution into question or to challenge its fundamental truths, through putting forward literal Biblical “Creationism” or “more sophisticated” distortions of reality, such as “Intelligent Design,” which is in fact another variant of “Creationism.”

With this in mind, let’s look at the claim by the writer of this letter that evolution, no less than the Big Bang, is “just as much a leap of faith as the biblical version of creation.” From all that has been said so far, it should be clear that this statement is utterly and completely false. Evolution has been shown to be true and has been continually further verified, by application of the scientific method—which, again, involves definite leaps from perceptual to rational knowledge but involves nothing of a “leap of faith.” In fact, “leaps of faith” are alien to, and are in direct conflict with and violation of, the scientific method—and if it can be shown that, as opposed to a logical leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, a scientific theory actually involved “a leap of faith” which by definition could not be substantiated, or even tested, by scientific methods, that theory would immediately be understood to be invalid according to the standards of science and the scientific method. There are no “leaps of faith” in the scientific method, and there is no “leap of faith” in the theory of evolution; its findings and the means by which they have been arrived at (and are continually being further verified and validated), are in direct opposition to “leaps of faith” and to the notion of an understanding of reality that relies on such “leaps of faith” and on “faith” as some kind of means for arriving at the truth about reality. Therefore, when I (and, more significantly for this discussion, the overwhelming, overwhelming majority of scientists in the field of biology and more generally people in the scientific community) declare, without hesitation, that “Evolution is a fact!”—this may annoy the writer of this letter and upset his religious prejudices, but that does not make it any less true that evolution is, indeed, a fact.

And by now it should also be clear what is fundamentally wrong with the comment by the writer of this letter that, “since no one was there to record the Big Bang, it too is just as much a leap of faith as the biblical version of creation.” While (at least to my understanding) the Big Bang, as a scientific theory, is not as well substantiated and verified as evolution—and while there is definitely much more to be learned about the origins and developments of the universe (or perhaps many different universes), and people in the field of physics (or other sciences) would be the first to say this—it is not at all the case that the theory of the Big Bang is just as much a matter of a “leap of religious faith” as the myth of biblical creation. First of all, the story of creation, as told in the book of Genesis in the Bible, is simply wrong—it is clearly contradicted by many scientifically established facts in many particular details and in its overall presentation—not the least of which is the fact that it can be shown, scientifically, that the earth is billions of years old, not a few thousand years old, that the earth revolves around the sun, and that many other forms of plant and animal species existed long before human beings first appeared on earth. In opposition to this biblical creation myth, while (again, to my understanding) the Big Bang theory has not been as thoroughly verified by scientific methods as evolution has, it is certainly not the case that the Big Bang theory is, at this point at least, contradicted, in its main features, by scientific understanding and by results arrived at through the scientific method—as, again, is definitely the case with the biblically based myth of creation.

It is of course true that no human being was around at the time of the Big Bang. But this does not invalidate the Big Bang theory or reduce it to “an article of faith” like the biblically based myth of creation. Human beings come to know many things about reality which we do not directly experience or witness. The Big Bang theory has in fact been formulated and developed through a process (which is ongoing) of proceeding from things that have already been clearly established and demonstrated, from many directions, to be true, and “putting these things together” to draw a conclusion about the larger reality that these things are part of. In other words, there is indeed a leap involved here—but, once again, it is not a “leap of faith,” or anything like it, but a leap from evidence to a conclusion about what the evidence shows to be true.

In short, in developing the Big Bang theory, scientists in the fields of astronomy and physics, and other fields, have proceeded from what they do know—what has been scientifically established and tested and verified—about the universe to draw further inferences and conclusions about the universe, including its origins. And at every stage in the development of this scientific theory (as in all scientific theories), these inferences and conclusions have to be, and are, subjected to further testing in reality before they can be raised to the level of a verified theory and gain general acceptance. The Big Bang theory is a work in progress, but it is not idle speculation: the very questions it poses and explores, the research it stimulates, and the concrete facts it has so far helped to uncover are based on previously accumulated scientific evidence about reality. And this once again marks a profound difference between the scientific method and “religious faith”—since the latter, by definition, does not draw its conclusions, or make its assertions, based on a scientific investigation of and summation of actual reality and cannot, by definition, be tested by scientific methods. In contrast to the biblical creation story of the origin of the universe, the fact is that the Big Bang theory is being continually subjected to further scientific “probing” and analysis. Even though it is true that no human being was present at the time that scientists have calculated that the Big Bang occurred (about 15 billion years ago) the development of new technology—including more powerful telescopes and related instruments, which can be sent into space to record things—has enabled scientists to learn much more about what happened at a time which was shortly after the time when the Big Bang is believed to have occurred, at a point in space far from where our earth now exists. (“Shortly” in this context means something like a billion years, which is not that great a time span in the context of the universe and its development. The reason that scientists are able, in this way, to “see far into the past” in the universe’s development has to do with the relation between time and space. Since things that are observed by human beings—directly or with the aid of telescopes and similar instruments—are “transmitted” to us through the medium of light, and at the speed of light, things that occurred long ago but also a long distance from the observer take a long time to reach the observer, even though the speed of light is very fast compared to other everyday movements we are familiar with. For example, if you are in a thunderstorm, you will see a lightning bolt before you hear the thunder connected with it, even though the two actually are part of one phenomenon and actually occurred at the same time. The reason you see the lightning first is that lightning travels at the speed of light, which is much faster than the speed of sound which brings the noise of the thunder.)

What scientists have learned through this “looking back in time,” getting ever closer to the time when the Big Bang is believed to have occurred, has tended to substantiate (to back up and further confirm) the Big Bang theory, even while it has raised new questions relating to all this. But once more the crucial fact here, in relation to what is raised by the writer of this letter—and, more importantly, in relation to fundamental questions concerning what is truth and how human beings arrive at knowledge of the truth, and test that knowledge—is that in no way does this increasing knowledge relating to the origins of the known universe have anything to do with the application of religious principles or “leaps of faith.” In fact, once again this increasing knowledge—arrived at through scientific methods and logical leaps from perceptual to rational knowledge that are consistent with and part of the scientific method—is in contradiction to, and refutes the biblically based myth of creation, further providing evidence that it is exactly that: a myth, invented several thousand years ago, by human beings who lacked knowledge of how the universe (as we know it), the earth, and the living things on the earth (including human beings) actually came into being.

*****

Knowing about actual reality—and continually learning more about it—is vitally important for humanity and its future; it is vitally important not only for people in the sciences and the academic world but for the brutally oppressed and exploited people of the earth, who must and can be the backbone and driving force of a revolution to throw off and put an end to all forms of exploitation and oppression, throughout the globe—to be the emancipators not only of themselves but ultimately of all humanity. Confronting reality as it actually is—and as it is changing and developing—and understanding the underlying and driving forces in this, is crucial in order to play a decisive and leading role in bringing about this revolution and ushering in a whole new era in human history, which will shatter and remove forever not only the material chains—the economic, social and political shackles of exploitation and oppression—that enslave people in today’s world but also the mental chains, the ways of thinking and the culture, that correspond to and reinforce those material chains. In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who founded the communist movement over 150 years ago, declared that the communist revolution, and its emancipating principles, methods, and aims, involves a “radical rupture” not only with the traditional property relations that enslave people, in one form or another, but also a radical rupture with all traditional ideas that reflect and reinforce those traditional property relations.

The struggle in the realm of epistemology—the theory of knowledge and how it is acquired by people, the theory of what is true and how people come to know the truth—is a crucial arena in the overall battle for the emancipation of the oppressed and exploited majority of humanity, and ultimately of humanity as a whole. Grasping the defining characteristics and the importance of the scientific method—and, most of all, the most consistent, systematic and comprehensive scientific approach to reality, the communist world outlook and method, which can embrace without replacing or suffocating the many fields of human knowledge and endeavor and can give expression to the richest process of learning about reality and transforming it in the interests of humanity—is of vital importance for this emancipatory struggle. Understanding the profound difference between the attempt to impose “faith-based” notions on reality and, in opposition to that, pursuing a scientific understanding of reality, including of religion and its origins and effects—understanding the radical difference between “leaps of faith” and the ongoing acquisition of knowledge through continual leaps from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge—this is a crucial part of carrying forward the struggle to achieve the two radical ruptures that mark the communist revolution as the leap to a whole new, liberating era in human history.

Notes:

1. Audio files of the talk “God Does Not Exist—We Need Liberation Without Gods” are available online at bobavakian.net.

2. This series has now been published as a book: Ardea Skybreak, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism—Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/science-of-evolution-philosophical-relativism-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

“BUT HOW CAN WE EVER BE SURE ANYTHING IS TRUE?”: SUCH PHILOSOPHICAL RELATIVISM OFFERS CREATIONISTS EASY PICKINGS

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Following is an excerpt from The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters by Ardea Skybreak, published in 2006.

It’s important to think about how you can tell whether something is really true or not. What are the methods and approaches which can be used for getting at the truth and distinguishing it from falsehood? Without a basic grasp of these approaches and methods it’s easy to fall into accepting just about any lie or falsehood, especially if it seems to be put forward with conviction by people in positions of power and influence (governments, religious authorities, TV personalities, and so on).

It’s good to have a critical mind and to question everything. But then again it’s also important to recognize when at least the basic truth of something has already been clearly established. If human beings always went around thinking that “nothing is ever sure,” how could we ever survive or get anything done? Should we walk in front of a moving bus because “we can’t ever really know for sure” whether we’ll get run over? Should we not bother setting an alarm clock because we “can’t ever know for sure” that it will ring, or that it even really exists, or that we really exist and have a reason to get up? These examples may seem silly, but they make the point that, even just to function in day-to-day life, we human beings really need to have some way, some approach and method, which can help us to determine when something is actually true (or false).

Of course we’ll never have absolute truth—in the sense that we’ll never know everything there is to know about everything—but we do have some means and methods for getting to the point that we can say, with a high degree of confidence, that something is true—meaning that it actually corresponds to some aspect of material reality as it really is.

Again, the point is that it’s good and important to question everything, but it’s also good and important to recognize that not everything is forever up for grabs—sometimes we can know enough about something to accept it as true, stop agonizing about it, and move on. Such is the case with the basic theory of evolution.

But a lot of people in the United States today still don’t realize that we can be that sure about evolution. Anti-evolution and anti-science Christian fundamentalist Creationists have worked to confuse people’s thinking on this since the late 19th century, typically becoming particularly active and aggressive in times of social turmoil and when the overall direction of society is being broadly questioned and debated. It’s especially at such times that reactionaries resist all forms of social progress and call instead for looking backward and “restoring core values and traditions.” Today is no exception.

The Creationists have waged such determined anti-evolution and anti-science campaigns in recent years that U.S. universities are now reporting that they are getting very worried about growing scientific illiteracy in the country as a whole as they notice that more and more freshmen are arriving on campuses so poorly trained in even basic science that they actually believe “the scientific community is divided on whether evolution happened” and that “evolution is still just an unproven theory.” To state it clearly again: both those notions are completely false. The scientific community (in the U.S. and worldwide and in every field of science) is not “divided” on the basic facts of evolution. The consensus is overwhelming that (a) life has definitely evolved and that (b) the basic mechanisms involved in how life evolved and continues to evolve (such as natural selection) are by now well understood.

The “Theory of Evolution”—What a Scientific Theory Is

As for the question of evolution being “just an unproven theory”: this is also false. As spoken to throughout this book, there is an incredible amount of accumulated and mutually reinforcing evidence for evolution, and the general scientific consensus is that the theory of evolution is among the best-proven and best-documented theories in all of science.

But one of the favorite methods of the Creationists is to play on people’s ignorance and confusion about some basic words: in regular everyday English, the word “theory” often means “a guess” or something that has not been proven to be true. So the Creationists hope that when you hear the words “theory of evolution” you will automatically think it hasn’t yet been proven to be true. But, in scientific circles, the word “theory” has a very different meaning: a “scientific theory” is what scientists call a complex body of thought that ties together a number of different ideas and proposals which successfully explain—from a number of different angles—the basic principles and mechanisms involved in a natural process, such as the origins and later change and development of some part of actual material reality. So, for instance, scientists talk about the “theory of gravitation” or the “Copernican theory” (of the motion of the planets, including the earth, around the sun) but that doesn’t mean they’re “guessing” that objects fall towards the earth because of the pull of gravity or that they’re “guessing” that the earth goes around the sun rather than the other way around. The theory of gravitation and the Copernican theory are by now well documented and supported by the accumulated scientific evidence, and the same can be said of the scientific theory of evolution.

Of course scientific theories are always being further extended and developed as human knowledge expands and comes to understand some things that we didn’t previously understand. And as knowledge develops, it is inevitably the case that some old ideas are discovered to be wrong and therefore need to be discarded. Science actually advances by calling into question and critically reviewing previously established scientific notions. It is true that there is always going to be more to learn and discover about everything. But that doesn’t mean that we can never come down and say that something is true. People who like to say things like “but you can never be sure” fall into the mistaken outlook and approach known as philosophical relativism. (Of course, since human knowledge is never complete and perfect, and is always developing, people who think and act like they have “absolute truth” about everything, or everything important, fall into the erroneous method known as dogmatism, which is the “flip-side” of relativism.) But when we say something is “true” it simply means that there is good, compelling and concrete evidence (preferably from a number of different and mutually reinforcing sources and directions) that our understanding of something actually does closely correspond to how that something really is in objective reality, that is, in the real material world—which includes all that is part of the natural world and which encompasses the features and workings of human social organization as well. (See “Reality and Distortions of Reality—Objective Truth and Subjective Influences” on page 216.)

Scientific theories (whether pertaining to the world of nature or human society) do not get proven to be “true” overnight. Before any great idea or set of ideas can be confidently said to be “true,” it has to get put through the scientific crucible—that means it gets poked at and critiqued and challenged and tested over and over again and from countless different directions. A good scientific theory puts forward some predictions about what we should expect to find in the real world if the theory is true; and it also makes predictions about some of the things we should not be able to find in the world if the theory is true. This is known as the principle of “scientific falsifiability”: a genuine scientific theory, as a matter of principle, has to be capable of being disproved by facts (things which, if discovered, would prove your theory to be wrong). The theory of evolution could be falsified (proven wrong) if, for instance, fossilized dinosaur and human footprints were ever found in the same undisturbed rock layers, because that would mean dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time, and this would completely contradict everything we know about how and when different species evolved. Biologists can give many such examples of the kinds of things that—if they were ever found to exist—would make a complete shambles of evolutionary theory. So, like all good scientific theories, the theory of evolution is falsifiable in principle—but, as a point of fact, science has never found anything (not a single thing) that actually falsifies it. It has, however, found many, many things that support it.

The theory of divine Creation is a religious belief, not a scientific theory. One of the sure signs of that is that the theory of divine Creation is, by its very nature and definition, impossible to falsify. The Creationists refuse to give people any examples of any kind of scientific discoveries that they could accept as proof that their divine Creation theory is wrong after all. They make a principle of this, because for them it is a matter of absolute religious faith. But if you make a principle of saying that there is no possible way that any information could ever come to light that would prove your theory wrong, then you are, by definition, not being scientific, and your theory has nothing to do with science!

Again, the theory of evolution was, from its very beginnings, falsifiable as a matter of principle. But as it turns out, all the actual scientific data that has been collected in the nearly century and a half since Darwin published his major work on evolution has repeatedly supported the theory of biological evolution; and none of it has ever provided evidence to the contrary. This more than anything is why there is such a broad and solid scientific consensus on the matter.

RECOGNIZE, DEMAND AND FIGHT FOR SCIENTIFIC TRUTH

Throughout this book, it is has been shown, from many different angles and different sources, that evolution is a well-established scientific truth which is upheld and applied by the vast majority of scientists in the world. But just because something is true doesn’t mean it will prevail at all times, especially when people who hold false views are able to wield or influence the machinery of the state to spread and impose those false views. People don’t always think about this enough. For instance, in the United States today there are some people who understand that evolution is a proven fact but who think that it’s just a waste of time to worry about the crazy Creationists because, after all, they’re not going to be able to change the fact that evolution is true. They seem to think that, at least in countries like the U.S., society “will never go back to a time when most people didn’t know life had evolved through natural processes”—so why waste energy addressing the creationist lunacy? But in my opinion it’s a serious mistake to be complacent about such aspects of the “culture wars” in the United States. I’ve heard the same argument made about the anti-abortion movement. (“Don’t worry, these people are nuts; women in the U.S. will never have to go back to the days when abortion was illegal and women did not have the right to determine whether or when they would bear a child.”) Oh yeah? Well, look around you—one step at a time the fundamentalist religious forces have managed to chip away at women’s fundamental right to control their own reproduction and in some parts of the country (especially rural areas) it has already become a practical impossibility for many women. In regard to evolution, the same types of fundamentalist reactionaries have managed to confuse a lot of people, take over school boards and even get disclaimers inserted into high school science textbooks, telling people that evolution is “controversial” and “an unproven theory” (it is not!). So why is it so hard to imagine that these people could make even further headway, especially when their right-wing political programs are the order of the day in the highest reaches of government?

And it’s not like there isn’t still a strong material basis for lots of people to be ignorant and confused about this. Looking not only at the U.S. but at the world as a whole, it is still the case that tremendous numbers of people have never been taught even the most basic facts of evolution (many have never even heard of it!): most believe instead one or another myth or superstition about how all the plants and animals and people came to be. Furthermore, the aggressively expanding Christian fundamentalist movement is a well-funded and well-organized movement which gets significant financial and ideological backing from conservative and reactionary political organizations. Evangelical and fundamentalist Christian movements in the United States in particular are closely allied with the political Right and growing fascist trends and developments (think back to the Santorum Amendment, for instance). Thanks to this support, Creationists have significant and regular access to mainstream media, where their viewpoints and activities are often reported uncritically and as straight news. They also own or control a lot of media outlets themselves: their radio and TV programs, books, pamphlets, museum exhibits, professional-looking web sites (just do a web search for the word “creationism” or look up the web sites of the ICR [Institute for Creation Research] or the Discovery Institute) now reach (and no doubt confuse) millions of people. They have money and other resources that allow them to regularly send speakers on tour to address school boards and parents’ groups, to speak on college campuses and in courtrooms, and to address Congress and other government officials. And, as pointed out before, they have powerful ties right up to the highest levels of the ruling class in American society.

Can a well-orchestrated and well-funded propaganda blitz in itself “reverse” the truth of evolution? Of course not. But it can do a lot of social damage by training legions of people (including the young and inexperienced) to firmly and zealously believe in completely wrong ideas and to increasingly reject not only evolution but even science more generally, as a method for learning about things and for transforming the world.

Of course the government, military and big corporate sectors themselves have to regularly make use of actual science to carry out their objectives (they need science to help them wage their wars or develop new pharmaceuticals, for instance), so they are not about to throw all science out the window. They will need to allow at least some people to continue to be trained in actual scientific principles and methods and to learn some actual truths about the way things are in reality—otherwise they could not continue to function and to enforce their rule and domination in the world. But that doesn’t mean they have to let everyone in on it!

For one thing, reactionary political forces have always found it useful to try to pass off as genuine “science” all sorts of completely false and non-scientific beliefs when it helps them to justify a reactionary political agenda: it should be enough to think for a minute about all the phony “scientific” theories of supposed racial or gender inferiority (phony “science,” which rested on absolutely no legitimate scientific evidence!) which have been used repeatedly to buttress and justify such things as the horrific enslavement of Africans, the Nazi extermination of Jews, the countless forcible restrictions on and coercion of women, and so on. So just because an idea is not true, and a whole lot of people know it is not true, doesn’t mean it can’t be put in the service of concretely aiding some very bad things!

In short, don’t underestimate the damage that can be done by the unchallenged promotion of wrong ideas, especially when they are being presented as “scientific.” What the Creationists of different stripes are doing by packaging their religious beliefs as “science” is not just trying to make their beliefs more acceptable to a somewhat scientifically oriented public, or trying to get their religious teachings into the public schools even though the Constitution is supposed to guarantee that people in the U.S. are not subjected to the imposition of religious doctrine and the tyranny of religious clerics and diktats. What the creationist program is also doing is working to undermine science itself—the whole method of science and the whole way science trains and encourages people to learn about everything in the world (and also how to change it) through a process of systematic and repeated observations and interactions with the material world as it actually is.

If the creationist frontal attack on science itself were ultimately successful it would set science back literally centuries and limit us to trying to understand and affect the world (or passively accept the way it is) on the basis of superstition and belief in the supernatural.

So what can people, in particular those who are not professional scientists, do to better understand what is wrong and untrue about what the Creationists put forward? The accompanying insert, “Some Things You Can Do to Learn More about Creationist Lies and Distortions” on page 222 offers some suggestions and indicates important sources of information.

Order from Insight Press

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak

The Science of Evolution
and the Myth of Creationism

Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

"This book will be of tremendous benefit to many..."
– Richard Leakey

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/action-alert-members-of-revolution-club-chicago-attacked-by-police-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Action Alert:

7 Members of Revolution Club Chicago Attacked by Police at Puerto Rican Day Parade

Demand That the Charges Be Dropped!

Updated June 17, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update, June 17: All of the Revolution Club members arrested have now been released and have been charged with misdemeanors for "obstructing" police.

 

June 16 at Chicago’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, seven people with the Chicago Revolution Club were vamped on by the police and arrested. Lawyers are trying to locate them, concerned that they may be being held in vans in oppressive heat. Call the Chicago Police Department's 25th District at 312-746-8605. Demand that those arrested be located and the charges dropped immediately.

The U.S. can kill thousands in the wake of a hurricane by its cruel treatment of Puerto Rico as a colony not deserving of even basic humanitarian aid. Revolutionaries calling out this and many other crimes of the U.S., letting people know that a much better world could be brought into being through a revolution, are being REPEATEDLY arrested in Chicago. Last week at a public festival in Back of the Yards where four, including Joe Veale, were arrested; this week at the Puerto Rican Day parade where Noche Diaz was arrested along with seven others. This must stop now!

The police and the authorities are clearly afraid of this revolutionary message being connected up with the masses of people. This will not stop the work of the Revolution Club. But you need to join the fray on their side. Call the station, raise legal funds (donate here), and get HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (the pamphlet they were distributing) out everywhere.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/getting-out-in-the-midst-of-the-attacks-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

 

Getting Out in the Midst of the Mini-Jolt Around the Attacks on Immigrants

June 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following correspondence was sent to revcom:

There is so much going on it’s a little hard to keep track of: the massive raids; the murder of Claudia Gonzalez; the “zero tolerance” policy turning what was a civil violation into a criminal one, leading to gross violations of due process on the border (mass trials of 70 immigrants where each person gets five minutes counsel with one lawyer); and being used to justify separating families (which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others have made clear is now official U.S. policy); the prison conditions that 1,500 immigrant kids are living in now in the former Walmart in Texas which they initially tried to keep the outside world from seeing; Sessions’ change in asylum policy to keep out people who are fleeing domestic violence and gang violence... I’m sure I’m forgetting things.

And now, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (June 15) and Sessions (June 14) both defended ripping children out of their parents’ arms and throwing them in cages by invoking the BIBLE!

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.”

Sanders said: “It is very Biblical to enforce the law.... That is repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”

We should be tweeting out the clip on the Christian fascists from BA’s speech last fall like crazy right now.

The main point I wanted to make is that all this seems to be building into a mini-jolt, in which many people are once again being forced to confront the reality of the situation, and different class forces are weighing in. In fact, I think Sessions’ and Sanders’ comments were in part in response to criticism from Catholic groups about the family separation. And the June 14 New York Times editorial, while primarily funneling people’s disgust at this into the normal channels, also included the call to protest.

Yesterday I talked to a top leading person in AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) who said he’s feeling like what’s needed right now is a mass march on Washington. At the AILA conference plenary everyone did powerful exposure about what’s happening... most people were sober about it. The incoming president of the group, however, recycled the same few examples of temporary court “victories” (on the Muslim ban and DACA, etc.) to argue that we are “winning” and just need to continue the fight. She made the “winning” comments as an applause line, but it got almost no applause. The California attorney general was the keynote speaker... he did exposure of some of the horrific history of U.S. treatment of immigrants (Chinese Exclusion Act, braceros, “no dogs or Irish allowed,” etc.), but all in the service of saying that none of what Trump is doing is new and we just have to continue the perennial struggle in the onward march of progress. Interestingly, though, when someone on the panel asked him whether he thought the Democrats were part of the problem, citing the way they sold out the Dreamers, he kind of “played golf,” refusing to defend the Dems and instead just said that although he’s a Democrat, he’s first a brown-skinned person and that Dems should be held accountable like anyone else.

At the end I jumped up on a chair in this room with about 2,000 lawyers and did some brief call-and-response agitation and called for people to put their fists in the air and do the “in the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America” pledge, which most of the people in the immediate vicinity did. Then I told them to come talk to me and the other person with me about The BA Institute and BA’s work on the roots and dynamics of American fascism, and how we can make an actual revolution, etc. Lots of people came up to us wanting the flyers.

I’m running out the door to go back to the conference, and we can write more on this conference later. But again the main point I wanted to emphasize is that there’s a mood shift, like a mini jolt.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/bringing-revolution-to-the-golden-state-warriors-parade-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Bringing Revolution to the Golden State Warriors NBA Championship Parade in Oakland

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the downtown Oakland streets for the NBA championship parade. From 7 to 10 am., while city crews were going through and taking down every flyer, leaflet, official or not, everyone saw a large paper banner that read “Champions.... 2015, 2017, 2018 Golden State Warriors” hanging at a major turn in the parade route. The city crews left it alone. Then, when the parade began, we ripped the paper banner down... revealing the very colorful banner saying “This system cannot be REFORMED—it must be OVERTHROWN!

It was too late for the city crews to take it down, as the crowd was simply too large by that time. Several in the crowd across the street shouted, “Look at that” with smiles. We didn’t notice any players pointing to the banner in agreement. But they could not miss it. Some family members/friends, etc. on other buses gave a big thumbs up on noticing the banner.

 

To be seen by all!

At the start...

 

Then the unveiling...

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/step-forward-in-harlem-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

A Step Forward in Harlem

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Yesterday, we took a challenge and invitation to the people of Harlem: Enlist in the revolution.

We stepped out with large posters of the 5 Stops and set up on a corner and agitated to hundreds who walked past and many dozens who stopped to listen and sometimes join in. We asked people to imagine what it is like right now for the immigrant children—2,000 of them in the last six weeks—who have been torn from parents’ arms and experienced that terror and worse because they are locked in cages and camps, because their parents’ arms are in shackles and cannot comfort them, because there is no security and no safety to come, there is no end in sight.

People slowed down and listened—some faces widening with shock because they didn’t know this was happening, others nodding with furious recognition. As we agitated about this and drew the beginnings of a crowd, a Black woman shouted out, “They don’t care now, like they didn’t care during slavery.” Exactly! And we got into this too. During slavery, Black parents were shackled in chains, too, as their children were torn from them and sold on the auction block. This is America. It is a system that cannot be reformed, but which must be overthrown. The white supremacy, the heartless exploitation, the cruel degradation and terror being unleashed today against immigrants like it has been unleashed against so many before them and so many more now, is woven into the foundations of this system. It cannot be ended as long as this system rules over us, but—and this is the most important thing—it can be ended through an actual revolution.

One thing I want to highlight about our experience is that we made a very conscious effort to go further than we have in the past in bringing out not only the outrages and unreformability of this system, but of the need and real possibility of getting organized and prepared for an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—and to enlist people in this on the spot.

We held up and drew from every major theme in Part 2 of HOW WE CAN WIN. As we made clear that we were talking about the actual overthrow of this system and the dismantling of its violent forces of oppression and repression, a Black man threw both fists up in the air and let out a cheer. Others gathered. We called on them to not only take up the HWCW pamphlet themselves, but to stick around and join in getting it out to others. Several did so, watching and approaching everyone who stopped or turned their head to the agitation going on.

At one point, we went into all the bullshit being spewed by the lying politicians and ruling class media mouthpieces about how much of a tyrant Kim Jong-un is in North Korea. While making clear we are not fans of his, we called out the howling hypocrisy of the U.S. pointing a finger at others when it comes to tyranny, mass murder, and terror. The USA is #1 in backing death squads to murder revolutionaries and freedom fighters around the world! USA is #1 in mass incarceration! USA is #1 in invading and subjugating other countries, in carrying out torture; #1 in white supremacy and slavery in many forms. It was clear that there were about a dozen people listening. Then the agitator went further—calling out how we are supposed to salute the flag and thank the troops and all that bullshit, and saying no, we don’t thank them for their service bombing weddings in Afghanistan, refueling Saudi warplanes that are pounding civilians in Yemen and plunging eight million to the brink of starvation, setting up black sites and torture dungeons like Abu Ghraib, killing babies in Vietnam, dropping nuclear weapons on civilians... No, we say FUCK YOU for your service. With this, it became clear that many more on the street were listening than had previously been apparent—people 30 or 40 feet away busted out laughing and several drew closer.

One guy who drew closer told us he had been a Marine and seemed to consider for a minute getting into it with us, but then he dropped back and listened instead as we laid into how he and others like him were used by a system that doesn’t give a damn about them. We said straight up, there is no pride in serving this system, in fighting and killing for it—but there is pride in joining the fight to put an end to this system.

An older Black man who’d been listening stepped to the mic and added that the U.S. is the richest country in the world because it goes around and bombs and steals from other countries around the world. He said they kill women and children and babies with no discrimination. With that, he passed the mic back. But he stayed nearby listening for quite some time, and every now and then if he caught something being said from someone walking past, he would gesture for the mic and add his voice to underscore even more fully the crimes of this system. As this went on, a Black woman who had joined in talking to people and working to get them into the revolution on the spot also started speaking out. Every time the older man would speak, she’d come right after him and add a sentence or two—one time about the U.S. troops killing babies and coming back crazy with PTSD and another time to ask people in her own words to join with the revolution.

We kept weaving back and forth between the nightmares this system causes and how it cannot be reformed and must be overthrown, and how it can be overthrown and how that must be prepared for now by enlisting today in this revolution. And, through our team, we worked not only to sign people up, but to get them started in spreading the revolution on the spot.

Several people listened—and/or joined in—for over an hour, and their presence influenced others to stop and listen as well. One brother who had been rapt for a long time told us when we approached him: “You can see it in my face, can’t you—I am feeling what you are saying. I hate this system and it’s just like you said, you can’t vote someone else in who can change it, it is deeper than that.” He had spent eight years in prison for a nonviolent crime and is living on the street, but he was serious and posed right off the bat that the system cannot ultimately be ended without violence, but if you start talking about or preparing for that they will come and crush you. This led to a deep discussion of all three parts of HWCW and how they relate to each other, and what it is that must and can be done now (Part 2).

In the middle of this conversation, a very narrow Black nationalist who seemed to be peddling socks started yelling at all of us to take our “Caucasian asses” out of Harlem. The Puerto Rican brother immediately stepped between him and the revolutionaries, saying, “It’s got nothing to do with Black or Caucasian, you are part of the problem.” A Black woman and her teenage daughter who’d been listening for at least half an hour and had taken a stack of pamphlets to spread started yelling, “Go sell your socks on another corner.”

Before we took a lunch break, we made sure everyone was signed up and had a real assignment as well as knowing where to join up with us next. A man who’d been with us for an hour or so went around with the clipboard and helped another man who couldn’t write because of a broken finger get his name and contact information entered. Before leaving, he took several large posters of HWCW to post up in the Bronx where he was headed next.

Over our lunch break, a leader of the Revolution Club observed that we had in fact done better in terms of really taking HOW WE CAN WIN as the solid core of what we were agitating about and organizing people into. She contrasted this with a recent experience where they noticed a tendency to get shrill on the microphone out of frustration over all the people who didn’t bother to stop. Without realizing it, they had begun to let those people’s backwards side set too much of the terms in the team’s own thinking and agitation, and it had actually reinforced the backwardness. This time, we were bringing our core message—all of it—and speaking to those who were most advanced and holding their attention, which in turn drew forward more. This was a very important observation. Later, someone else watching some of the footage of our agitation observed that, while we drew more from all of what is in Part 2 of HWCW, we still could have done even better if we had directly read from it at times—bringing alive where it is coming from and training people to use it themselves. This, too, is very important.

After lunch, we set up on a different corner. Right from the start we noticed “lurkers” listening from a distance. A Black man stood with his teenage son 40 feet away listening for 10 minutes as we broke down what BA says in BAsics 1:24 and how this shows that the system cannot be reformed but must be overthrown, as we got into the strategy, and as we brought alive the importance of BA’s leadership and of the Constitution he authored. After a bit, the father sent his son over to get copies of the pamphlet. A Black woman listened for a while before going into a store to do some shopping. When she came out, she had purchased four sandwiches, one fresh salad, and a huge bag of healthy grapes and set it down as a donation to the revolution. She also gave a cash donation and purchased a copy of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Not long after, one of us noticed someone we had met a couple times downtown at cultural events and called him over. He couldn’t stay long but was thrilled to see the revolution out in action in Harlem. When asked for a donation, he threw $100 in the jar. Two young friends, a white woman and a Black man, stopped in their tracks when they noticed that the agitator was talking about an “actual overthrow, yes, the overthrow of this system—clearing away, defeating, and dismantling its armed forces of oppression and repression during a revolutionary crisis, and the replacement of them with revolutionary institutions, as envisioned in the Constitution written by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.” Their faces went wide with disbelief and excitement at what they were hearing, and they stuck around to talk to someone from the Club.

In sum, a good step forward.

How Can We Win? How Can We Really Make Revolution?

Click to read

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/rev-club-nyc-refuses-to-back-down-exposing-harlem-recruiting-center-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

From readers:

Revolution Club in NYC Refuses to Back Down from Exposing Harlem Recruiting Center

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The U.S. military fucks over people in more than 180 countries, raining down terror and wrecking societies, all in the service of plunder and domination. It is the battering ram of imperialism. The refugees at the border right now, being ripped from their kids? They come from countries ravaged by U.S. military intervention and “aid.” And in all the news about Korea, you never hear that the U.S. “armed services” murdered 3 MILLION (!) Korean people and leveled 90% of the buildings above two stories.

So what the fuck are youth from oppressed communities and youth who give a shit about humanity and justice doing joining this instrument of terror? Should they not spit on the U.S. flag and these “armed services” and enlist instead in the forces now preparing for revolution at the earliest possible time?

This is the message the Revolution Club in NYC took to the Harlem U.S. military recruitment center on June 7 and got an interested and supportive response. We got out copies of HOW WE CAN WIN, caused somewhat of a scene, and got into discussion and debate.

This was too much for the pigs in green and blue. Last Thursday a number of military came out and then, when the agitation started, they called the NYPD pigs. These pigs came out and began videotaping Club members right up in their faces, attempting to intimidate masses from getting into the discussion, debate, participation and exposure of the week before.

The Club now says that they are going back this Thursday, June 21, and drawing the lines even more sharply. They are appealing to several different forces and all kinds of people to join together first at Revolution Books and then march the 7 blocks to the recruitment center, creating a scene of resistance and revolution and drawing the lines sharply against this imperialist killing machine.


NYC Revolution Club at Harlem Recruiting Station

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/ba-the-bible-taken-literally-is-a-horror-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Excerpts from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

The Bible, Taken Literally, Is a Horror

and

Christian Fundamentalists, Christian Fascists

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Updated June 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following are excerpts from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

All this is why, with profound reason and justification, it must be said that the Bible, taken literally, is a horror. And the fundamental question demands to be posed: Is what the Bible portrays about people and their relations—how those relations ought to be, how, according to the decrees of God, they have to be—is that really the kind of world we want?

From what has been shown so far, and what will be gone into further in the course of this book, it becomes unmistakably clear that the following are some of the extremely oppressive relations and beliefs that are upheld—and not just upheld, but advocated, commanded and celebrated—in the Bible:

Slavery and other forms of ruthless exploitation.

The domination and degradation of women by men, including the so-called right of male conquerors to carry off women, especially virgins, as prizes of war, rape them, and make them concubines—sex slaves—of the conquerors.

The killing of women who are not virgins when they get married.

The execution of women alleged to be witches.

The condemnation of homosexuality as not just a sin, but an abomination deserving of death.

The right, and indeed the duty, as commanded by God, to plunder and slaughter people—including the babies and infants of people—following other religions.

The slaughter of people of the one true faith who displease that God.

Killing of children who rebel against their parents.

Belief in superstition and fear, and fear-inspiring ignorance, such as demon possession and exorcism.

The cruel notion that disease is caused by sinfulness.

The condemnation to eternal damnation and unbearable suffering in hell for all those who do not accept “the one true God”—and, in the case of Christianity, Jesus as the son of God who was crucified but then raised from the dead.

All of this, along with many other atrocities and outrages, is upheld and promoted in the Bible. If you believe in the Bible—and especially if you believe and insist that it is the divinely-dictated, or divinely-inspired word of God and all of it must be taken literally—then all of these atrocities and outrages are things that you must say are right and good because the Bible says they are right and good. And that is precisely the case with the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who can be very accurately characterized as Christian Fascists.

 

Christian Fundamentalists, Christian Fascists

Now, right away, the question may arise: “Why do you call these right-wing Christian fundamentalists Christian Fascists?” Well, the simple and basic reason is that they are Christians, and they are fascists. [Laughter] They are the present-day American version of the Nazis in Germany, headed by Hitler, in the period before and during World War 2. They want to impose a fascist theocracy on society—an openly repressive form of reactionary rule, in the interests of the capitalist class and the capitalist-imperialist system of exploitation, in which law and the exercise of political power will be based on and justified on the basis of Christian scripture and “Biblical law”—as interpreted by authoritative figures recognized as legitimate by these Christian Fascists.

These Christian Fascists are forever talking about, and insisting upon, “traditional morality.” So let’s examine further what traditions and traditional morality they are actually insisting on and want to force on all of society. What is this actually all about and what does it really represent?

One of the things that is very striking is that when these Christian Fascists are confronted with the kinds of horrors that I’ve mentioned, many of which are based in the Old Testament of the Bible, they will say: “Oh, that was the Old Testament which God had with the ancient nation of Israel. That’s the old covenant. Now we have a new covenant, a New Testament, based on the life and teachings, and the death and resurrection, of Jesus.”

Well, as a matter of fact, the New Testament upholds such things as slavery and the subjugation of women. Paul’s letters throughout the New Testament, for example, do this rather emphatically. Paul insists repeatedly that slaves should be loyal to and obey their masters (see, for example, Colossians 3:22–24). The New Testament, in the person of Paul—who, as I will return to later, really is the most influential figure in the New Testament—tells people to obey earthly authority, without regard to how oppressive that earthly authority may be, because, as Paul puts it, such earthly authority is ordained by God (see Romans 13:1–7). The New Testament insists, in the words of Jesus himself (as in John 14:6 and John 15:6), that if you do not follow him and accept what he teaches, you will not be able to get into heaven and instead will be damned to horrible suffering in hell for all eternity.2 So, if you believe in and insist on taking the Bible literally, as the inerrant and unchallengeable word of God, you have to believe that everybody who follows another religion—and even children who die at any early age, without knowing anything about religion, one way or the other—must be condemned to eternal damnation because they haven’t accepted Jesus as their personal savior.

 


2. It is also worthwhile looking at Jesus’s parable of the Ten Pounds, in which a nobleman gives ten pounds to ten of his slaves and then, after a time, rewards or punishes them according to how they used this money—whether they wisely invested it or foolishly squandered it. At the end of this parable—which is supposed to be about the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven and what will happen to the righteous and to the evil ones when that time comes—the nobleman in the parable says: “But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.” (See Luke 19:1–27—what is quoted here is verse 27.) And, not without any reason, Christian Fascists in the U.S., including in the U.S. military, interpret this parable, and in particular its concluding verse (Luke 19:27), as a declaration that those who do not recognize Jesus as Lord and savior will face merciless destruction when the Kingdom of Heaven arrives. As reported in the newspaper of our Party, Revolution (issue no. 98, August 13, 2007), in an interview with Tikkun magazine Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation describes the outlook of the Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. military: “They often quote Luke 19:27 when I speak to them. That’s the Parable of the Pounds in which Jesus says: ‘go out among the people, and bring back to me those who refuse to accept me as King over them, and slaughter them.’”  [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/ba-christian-fascism-and-genocide-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

Christian Fascism and Genocide

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

In this connection it is important to examine the genocidal implications that are part and parcel of the Christian Fascist outlook and program. This, again, is one of the great ironies and injuries of the promotion of this religious fundamentalism among the masses of oppressed people who are already the most direct victims of white supremacy. In “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy…and Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” I pointed out that a leading Christian Fascist, Pat Robertson—and he is not alone in this—advocates a legal system based on the Old Testament of the Bible. And what does that call for? It calls for things like public floggings and the shaming of people who commit minor offenses, and with regard to people who commit more serious offenses, it insists upon the death penalty—not just for what are now considered capital crimes, such as murder, but also acts which, in the eyes of people like Robertson, would turn the society against God and destroy the fabric of society. As I pointed out in “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy”:

it is necessary to place this in the context of American society today, in which, through conscious government policy as well as the "normal operation" of the laws of capitalist accumulation and competition, whole sections of people are being consigned to the ranks of "unemployables," people for whom the only viable alternative within this system may be participation in the underground economy. With this in mind, we cannot avoid recognizing that the logic of Robertson's call for applying "the biblical model" for crime and punishment involves an unmistakable suggestion of a "final solution" against the masses of people in the inner cities as well as preparation for the use of extreme repression, and even execution, to punish a broad array of activities which today are treated as minor offenses or as no crime at all. (“The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy” was first published in the fall of 1998 in the Revolutionary Worker [now Revolution] and was reprinted in the October 17, 2004 issue [no. 1255]. It is available at revcom.us. For the arguments by Pat Robertson on applying “the biblical model for crime and punishment” that is referred to here, see Pat Robertson, Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, Bantam Books, 1987 edition, pp. 198-99.)

As has been pointed out several times, among those things for which the Bible insists people must be put to death are homosexuality and adultery and—particularly for women—sex before marriage. And if you think of all the people who are currently caught up in the penal system in the U.S.—with over 2 million in prison at this time and many more on parole and probation—particularly youth from the inner cities, and then you add to that a certain logic that says, “why should we spend all this money housing these people in prisons,” you can very easily see the genocidal implications of a Christian Fascist “Biblical” approach to crime and punishment.

This is not hyperbole. People like Robertson are very serious about what they’re seeking to do. What did they say after 9-11? Jerry Falwell insisted that this was brought on by liberals, the ACLU, idol-worshippers and secularists, people upholding the right to abortion, homosexuals and others of like mind. This, Falwell claimed, brought down the wrath of God on America. And Pat Robertson jumped in, to express strong agreement with this. 33.

These people, and others like them, firmly and fanatically believe that the unadulterated assertion of their fundamentalist outlook, backed up by the force of law and the state, is essential in order to achieve and maintain their vision of what America is and should be, and what it needs to do as it goes out into the world to carry out the grand design of God and to realize the special destiny of an exceptional people whom God has chosen to rule the whole world—once they have gotten right with God.


Footnote

33. On September 13, 2001 Jerry Falwell appeared on The 700 Club, hosted by Pat Robertson, and here is a part of the exchange between Falwell and Robertson:

Jerry Falwell: The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this [terrorist attack].

Pat Robertson: Well, yes.

Jerry Falwell: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools.  The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

Pat Robertson: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system. (A press release from People for the American Way, dated September 17, 2001 provided a transcript of this discussion between Falwell and Robertson on The 700 Club, September 13, 2001, and this appeared on “Common Dreams progressive newswire,” September 14, 2007.)

Coming under pressure from various quarters, Falwell issued an “apology” shortly after this. But this was the kind of “apology” in which someone “giveth with the left hand, while he taketh away with the right”: In “apologizing” Falwell continued to make the same arguments about how America had become vulnerable to terrorist attack because God had been angered by the kinds of things Falwell spoke about in the statement for which he was supposedly “apologizing.” (See CNN.com/U.S., September 14, 2001. Stories regarding this were also posted on the New York Times and the Washington Post websites [www.nytimes.com and www.washingtonpost.com], September 14, 2001.) [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/cheers-to-robert-deniro-for-declaring-fuck-trump-at-the-tonys-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Cheers to Robert De Niro for Declaring "Fuck Trump" at the Tonys

June 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Robert De Niro came on stage at the Tonys on Sunday night and said: "I'm going to say one thing: FUCK TRUMP." He held up both fists through a prolonged cheer. After thunderous applause, a standing ovation, and lots of looks of thrilled shock... he added: “It’s no longer ‘down with trump’ it's FUCK TRUMP.” Cheers to De Niro! We need much, much more of this. We need it in the culture—and we need it in the streets!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/trump-pence-must-go-twitterchat-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

Join the #Trump/PenceMustGo Twitterchat with Sarah Roark and Coco Das

June 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/dream-of-a-thousand-cats-by-sarah-roark-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

The Dream of a Thousand Cats; or, Reaching the Tipping Point of Liberation

by Sarah Roark, reprinted from Medium

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

With thanks and apologies to Neil Gaiman.

In the bound volume of Sandman comics titled Sandman: Dream Country, author Neil Gaiman relates the excellent tale, A Dream of a Thousand Cats. Which, I’ll note, crucially concerns not a dream that is being had, but a dream that could be had. And that once had, could turn injustice and oppression on its head.

I won’t belabor it with a long, detailed summary — you should definitely read it for yourself — but it goes something like this (content warning: animal death):

A young purebred Siamese cat escapes her house one night for a tryst with a wild ragged tom, and in due time delivers a litter of kittens. While she suckles them and thinks of all the things she’ll teach them as they get older, her human owners are unhappy; taking care of these little mutts hadn’t been in their plan. The man of the couple puts the kittens in a sack and drowns them. The young Siamese, heartbroken, goes on a kind of spiritual walkabout to discover why her children were taken away, and after passing through dangers and guardians, she comes upon Oneiros, the Lord of Dreams, and poses her question.

The dream-king tells her a fable (or is it only a fable?) about another Earth that once was, where cats were huge and humans were tiny, and cat-lords and cat-ladies took their endless leisure while the humans served as both slaves and food. One day in this world, a clever human began to preach to his fellows that if enough of them could dream a different kind of world, it would become reality. Though it took time, one night the magic number was struck: a thousand humans all dreamed the same dream, and the very next day the cat-lords and cat-ladies were gone as though they’d never been; the world became as it is now, and seemingly must remain forever. But, the cat realizes, it doesn’t actually have to remain that way. If she can only get a thousand cats to dream of that lost paradise, they can get it back.

And so she travels from city to city preaching this gospel. The cats come in numbers to hear her, out of curiosity, but they depart saying that while it was all very interesting, there is no way to get a thousand cats to do anything together. One young kitten in the audience, however, tells the now-old Siamese that she believes her. The old Siamese replies, “then there is hope.” We close on a scene of that kitten’s owners chuckling at her as she sleeps that night — how cute, it looks almost as though she’s chasing some small creature in her dreams...

That’s the kind of cat-herding I want to speak about here. That is the knife’s edge of the dilemma we’re sitting upon. We don’t know if, in this case, the number is one thousand, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand. But we do know that there is some kind of magic number. Some tipping point, where enough of us decide at the same time that the chaos and cruelty of the fascism rising to envelop us should stop, and therefore, it stops.

After all, it works the other way around too, doesn’t it? Fascism and atrocity happen when enough people decide that that should happen...and not enough people decide to stop it.

That’s the simple part. The tricky part with people, as with cats, is to get to enough, and more than that — enough at the same time. Ay, there’s the rub.

But the whole moral of the fable is to remind us that this is a self-imposed problem. Literally, all that’s standing in the way of our enacting it is our own will. And while we can’t control the will of others, we can certainly take charge of our own, and the day that enough of us do that, the world changes.

What are the obstacles to persuading enough individual cats to take up the common dream?

One of them, the one I want to discuss here, is what Zeynep Tufecki in her book Twitter and Tear Gas refers to as “pluralistic ignorance.” It’s a phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecy. The analogy she uses is that of an audience of miserable concert-goers all sitting together through a terrible musical performance — each person there secretly longs to get up and leave, but since no one else is getting up and leaving, why obviously that means everyone else must be enjoying it, and becoming the lone person to disrupt things could only lead to ostracism and punishment. So everyone sits in their own little bubble of self-imposed silence, and never has the opportunity to learn that in reality everyone else there is feeling exactly the same way. Masha Gessen, in The Man Without a Face, speaks of a similar phenomenon during the 2012 protests against Putin — Russians who had each imagined that they were alone in hating the autocrat, discovering that they had never really been alone at all.

I would also add to these examples that of the gay liberation movement. One of the reasons coming out of the closet was such a powerful component of LGBTQ liberation was that it broke through that pluralistic ignorance where each queer person thought they were the only one, or at least the only one who longed to live openly as themselves, and each straight person thought they didn’t know anybody who was gay. Once the truth was discovered, that revelation could not be forgotten. Once that door had opened wide enough, it wasn’t going to shut.

Try to imagine yourself this way now. Here you are, reading from a page that many others have read, are reading, will read — and I’ll bet you are thinking exactly what I keep getting told repeatedly: “Well, you’ve convinced me of your case. For my own part, I’m totally ready to take to the streets to stop the Trump/Pence regime! But you’ll never get all these other people to see the truth, so it could never possibly work.”

Really? Which ‘other people’? You mean all those other people who’ve said to me literally the same thing you’re saying now? Because they do, you know. All the time. So are you still so sure of what’s going through their heads? Why do you assume you’re exceptional?

What if we’re all just choosing to grit our teeth through the same terrible performance? What if each of us is the only cat we know who could possibly ever dream of a better world? And what if that idea were bullshit, and all we needed to do was find each other, and what if all it would take was the courage to keep looking?

Wouldn’t that be just too sad and funny all at once?

Think about it. Maybe sleep on it.

Read, share, add your name to this new Call to Action that diagnoses the existential threat to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence Regime and the only way to stop it. There is a way to do this...

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.

........

Read, share and endorse the full Call to Action here.

To deeply understand the threat to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence Regime…
Watch this film of a talk by Bob Avakian

The entire film with Q&A & sharable clips is here.

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/what-do-we-do-with-feeling-not-doing-enough-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

What Do We Do with the Feeling That We’re Not Doing Enough?

by Chaitali Sen, reprinted from Medium

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This was a headline in my Facebook newsfeed this morning.

What’s Going on at the Border is Numbing, but Going Numb is a Luxury We Can’t Afford — Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

A crying Honduran toddler is sandwiched between her mother and a large white border patrol vehicle. Her mother is being searched with her hands against the vehicle, her arms stretched stiffly above her daughter. The gloved hands of a border patrol agent appear to be pinching the waist of the mother. Mother and child can’t touch each other. The mother’s body frames the child, but can’t offer any comfort.

History has shown us that we must stop fascism before it consolidates. We are straining against two windows — the window of the “Reichstag Fire,” when the regime can bring the hammer down on dissent, and the window of normalization when people simply start to accept the horrors going on around them. Right now it looks like the second window is closing first. As long as this regime stays in power, both of those windows are inching and in danger of slamming shut.

*

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, when I was still hoping this was a nightmare I could wake up from, I read a statement from Refuse Fascism that changed my thinking about what this election was about, and what my life would have to be about under this new reality. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence have assembled a vicious cabal that has put forth positions and begun initiatives which demonstrate they fully intend to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequences ... There is a method to Trump’s madness that echoes Hitler. Fascism advances in stages through outrage, shock and intimidation, followed by brief periods of normalization where people accommodate to the new situation the regime has imposed.”

I started out as a lurker, watching Refuse Fascism from a distance, following them on Facebook, signing their call, reading their emails. I was heartened every time I saw their black and white “NO!” signs in photographs of various protests, and disappointed when I saw the news media or mainstream organizations ignoring what they were calling for — sustained, non-violent mass protest to drive out the whole Trump/Pence regime. Nothing short of that would stop this regime from escalating their attacks and consolidating their power.

A year and a half later, we see this borne out with the family separations at the border. The seeds of this policy can be found in Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign, when he called Mexicans rapists and ranted about MS-13. It isn’t only the families separated at the border, the concentration camps for the children and the prisons for their parents. It’s the thousands of people in Puerto Rico who have died from this regime’s racist neglect after Hurricane Maria. It’s the continual evisceration of environmental protections under Scott Pruitt. It’s the Handmaid’s Tale reality brought into being through Mike Pence’s Christian fascism. It’s the open white supremacy of Trump and his followers. It’s Jeff Sessions and his grotesque remaking of the Department of Justice. It’s Betsy DeVos destroying the foundation of a secular public school system. It is an entire fascist regime creating a new normal and daring us to stop them.

After months of wondering what to do, finally my conscience told me that I needed to put my energy into Refuse Fascism. Slowly I took more initiative, helping to pass out materials and becoming a more vocal advocate for this movement. I can’t underestimate the profound effect the presence of Refuse Fascism has had on my state of mind. Knowing there is an organization that is setting people’s sights on what humanity needs us to do, not alone but together, has kept me from falling into despair. It’s safe to say that at this point, most people I know don’t fully agree with me. I’ve been told to write my novel, to concentrate on work, to try to find joy in the day to day, to not get too caught up in this idea that we are facing a fascist future. At one point, when I became involved in organizing a November 4th protest that came under heavy attack from Infowars and armed right-wing militias, my marriage almost dissolved. And to some extent I did retreat back into my private life. I did go back to my novel. I did re-evaluate how much I really wanted to risk.

But things kept getting worse, and the sick feeling inside me wouldn’t go away. If I kept retreating, could I still call myself a good person, or was I just being a good German?

*

In her article in Slate, Dahlia Lithwick writes, “Most of the women I know are as heartsick about the obscene actions taking place at the borders as I am. I think a year ago we would have been out on the streets, were the government stealing the children of asylum-seekers and refugees and sending them halfway across the country or stacking them up like lumber in detention facilities. But today, I worry, we are horrified but numb. We want to be told what to do.”

I struggle with that last line. Often I think people don’t actually want to be told what to do, that they want the diagnosis without the prescription. At other times, I think we are being told what to do, but it isn’t a match for the crisis we are facing. We are told to call our representatives, to vote in a Blue Wave, to donate money to people who will pass a bill or bring a lawsuit, to support grassroots organizations that will try to rescue as many people from this as they can. I would never tell anyone not to do these things, but all of these are actions by proxy. We give our power to someone else who we hope will solve this for us, even when they have shown us their inability to do so. When we do hit the streets, we are told that this is no substitute for electoral power.

And then, speaking as a woman of color who has been around progressive movements for a long time, there is a prevalent message about lanes of justice and people needing to stay in them, that we must let those who are most affected by certain policies be in the front lines against their own oppression. Those of us who are not directly affected are urged to hang back and be good allies. How does that work exactly when whole groups of people are being rounded up in front of our eyes? How does that work when you have a regime that has a systematic strategy of taking people off the streets and destroying their ability to fight back?

*

If we have the luxury of looking back on this time, we each will have to contend with what we did to stop the crimes we knew were happening in our name. Most of us know that we are not doing enough, even when we are doing something. Even when we are writing and meeting with our representatives and going to protests and donating money, this feeling that we are not doing enough is accurate because of the relentless speed and determination of this regime to tear the ground out from under us. They will not stop unless we make them. There is no easy way around that.

I imagine a future young person asking me what I did once I understood what was coming. I want to be able to say that I did everything I could possibly do, that I risked everything I could possibly risk, that I did what was necessary. But those are questions for hindsight, after a generation has failed to meet their moral imperative.

We haven’t failed yet, but we will fail if we don’t try. In South Korea, they protested every weekend and didn’t stop until their president was gone. In Egypt, it took 18 days of protests to get rid of a regime that was in power for 30 years. Refuse Fascism is calling for people to flood the public square and demand that the regime responsible for these crimes relinquish their power. This is not a pipe dream but a proven method for ousting tyrants: “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.”

Sophie Scholl (pictured below) offers both inspiration and a warning. By the time she sacrificed her life in resistance to the Nazi regime, it was too late for a different outcome. If there had been thousands of people like her in 1933 instead of 1943, who could have inspired thousands and then millions more, they could have made Hitler a footnote in history. The sooner we get together to match the determination and ferocity of this regime with our own relentless non-violent resistance that forces them out of power, the less we will ultimately lose. The longer we wait, the greater our risk of losing everything.


Sophie Scholl was a young political activist in the White Rose Society, a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. Before her execution in 1943, she said, “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

Young boys separated from their parents, being detained in Texas. (Photo: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/this-week-in-fascism-assaults-on-refugees-rule-of-law-voting-rights-environment-more-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

This Week in Fascism:

Assaults on refugees, the rule of law, voting rights,
the environment, and more...

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

While Trump’s trip to Canada and the G-7 meeting, and then to Singapore for the summit with Kim Jong-un, were the focus of world attention this week, the Trump/Pence regime was advancing its agenda and moves to consolidate fascism on many different fronts.

1. Sessions bans refugees fleeing gang violence or domestic abuse from seeking asylum. As immigrant children are being ripped from the arms of their parents on the border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched another vicious attack on refugees and immigrants. On Monday he ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to people who are victims of gang violence or domestic abuse. Sessions’s order goes against previously established principles of asylum law. It will immediately impact thousands of people, mostly women, already imprisoned in this country’s jails for the “crime” of fleeing domestic abuse. Such abuse has become widespread and inescapable, especially in the countries of Central America, thanks to decades of U.S.-created poverty and state and gang violence. Denying these women’s right to even apply for asylum, Sessions is sending many of them back to their death.

2. Supreme Court rules in favor of voter suppression. On Monday, June 11, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it upheld the new policy for voter suppression passed by Ohio’s Republican legislature. This policy allows the state to purge people from voter rolls because they didn’t vote in an election. This forces them to re-register to vote in the future. The Supreme Court took this step knowing it will disproportionately reduce the number of voters who are Black, poor, or disabled—voters more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Their ruling directly contradicts the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which forbade states from kicking people off the rolls simply for not voting. This is another step in the Republi-fascist decades-long efforts to manipulate and control the voting process, through this and other forms of voter suppression as well as blatant gerrymandering.

3. Trump endorses white supremacist for senator from Virginia. On Tuesday, June 12, Virginia Republicans chose Corey Stewart, an open, vitriolic white supremacist, upholder of the Confederacy, and supporter of alt-right fascists, as their candidate for the U.S. Senate in November. Within hours Trump announced his support: “Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia.” Previously, Stewart had made stopping the push to remove Charlottesville’s statue of Robert E. Lee the centerpiece of his campaign for governor, holding rallies for the monument and displaying Confederate flags at his events. Nationally, the Republican Party is shedding its skin, revealing an even more violent, hideous creature within—the “Trump Party.” Only those who already represent, or are willing to become, the most staunch believers in Trump/Pence fascism are welcome.

4. Trump claims he’s above the law, with unchecked power to pardon, end investigations. On Monday, June 4, Trump tweeted “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.” Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers wrote a 20-page confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller claiming that since Trump is the country’s chief law officer, he cannot illegally obstruct justice—i.e., that he’s above the law. They also claimed the Constitution gives Trump the right to end Mueller’s investigation. Since then, all these claims have been repeated by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani also claimed that "In no case can he [Trump] be subpoenaed or indicted" even if he "shot [former FBI Director] James Comey." All these claims are ominous declarations of the Trump/Pence regime’s aim to centralize unchecked power, including by implication the power to murder, in Trump’s hands—in short, impose full-on fascism. One columnist summed up: “The week Trump went full dictator and no one tried to stop him.”

5. Republicans attack National Resources Defense Council as “foreign agent” for fighting for environmental protections. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading U.S.-based environment group with 1.3 million members, is under attack and facing investigation by Republican leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee. They’re accusing the NRDC of being an “agent of a foreign power”—China—for repeatedly suing the Trump/Pence regime over its roll-back of environmental protections, while speaking favorably about efforts they see China making to promote clean energy. Attacking environmental groups as agents of a foreign power—“aiding the enemy”—is part of the Trump/Pence regime’s all-out assault on environmental regulations—and an escalation of its efforts to vilify, silence and crush its opponents.

6. DOJ arrests alleged leaker, seizes reporter’s phone, email records in attack on press and whistleblowers. On June 7, a former aid to the Senate Intelligence Committee was arrested by federal agents for allegedly lying about an investigation of leaks of classified information. This followed the revelation that the FBI had covertly stolen the phone and email data from a New York Times reporter who had written major stories on the Intelligence Committee’s work. The Times denounced the data theft as an attack on the press that would have a chilling impact on journalists’ ability to cover the government: “communications between journalists and their sources demand protection.” The Committee to Protect Journalists called the government’s action “a fundamental threat to press freedom.” Attacking the press is a key element in the Trump/Pence regime’s efforts to tear down the liberal bourgeoisie and consolidate fascism.

7. California police secretly work with alt-right fascists to target anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters. At a trial now taking place in Oakland, California, it was revealed that Berkeley police secretly helped and worked with fascist Trump supporter Daniel Quillinan to prosecute five anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters. On March 4, 2017, pro-Trump, alt-right fascists called a rally in Berkeley and attacked counter-protesters. During that confrontation, the police consistently sided with the fascists, allowing them to illegally bring weapons including knives, poles, and wooden “shields,” and treating them as “victims,” even after they’d assaulted counter-protesters—who the pigs then arrested for assault! This is the second time California has secretly worked directly with neo-Nazis to target anti-Trump, anti-fascist protesters.

8. Rev. William Barber and other activists, held in cockroach-infested cells overnight, brought to court in ankle irons for nonviolently protesting poverty. On Monday, June 11, over 100 people including the Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, were arrested in Washington, DC for nonviolently protesting against poverty. Rev. Barber states that research shows that “there are actually 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this country...That’s 43.5 percent of all of the people in this country are poor.” Outrageously, Rev. Barber and other protesters were held overnight in cockroach-infested cells and brought before a judge the next morning in ankle irons. This is another example of the stepped up police brutality against protesters taking place under Trump/Pence rule.

9. Iowa Republican Congressmember Steve King retweeted a racist tweet by Mark Collett, a British neo-Nazi who claims the porn industry is a Jewish plot against Christian families. Collett’s tweet, based on a Breitbart article, read, “65% of Italians under the age of 35 now oppose mass immigration. Europe is waking up...” In the face of outrage, King, who says white Christians have contributed more to Western civilization than any other “subgroup,” doubled down, tweeting out the same Breitbart article again. Throughout all this, NO leading Republican uttered a word of condemnation for King.

As I have said a number of times: These reactionaries should not even be allowed to use “conservative” to describe themselves. We should say, “Conservative, my ass, these people are Nazis.”

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:26

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/newark-radical-mayor-spy-and-snitch-on-oppressed-communities-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Newark’s “Radical Mayor” Enlists Thousands to Spy and Snitch on Oppressed Communities

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka has set up a program called “Citizen Virtual Patrol,” which takes police-state surveillance of Black and Latino communities to new levels.

It is already the case that U.S. cities are saturated with private or government spy cameras—people have just gotten used to the idea of having their every public move recorded by someone. But Newark—which is more than 70 percent nonwhite—has gone a step further. Starting with 62 cameras and aiming for 300 more, cops are mounting round the clock surveillance on mainly lower income communities... and then livestreaming all of that footage onto a website that anyone with an email address can access. So far 1,600 people have signed up!

Baraka says this gives people “an opportunity to look at what’s going on in their neighborhood, a suspicious car, individuals that are there who shouldn’t be there ... anything of that nature.”

Think about what this means in a country where Black and Latino people are considered automatically suspicious not only by cops, but by a significant number of white people. In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen white “citizens” call the cops on a Black student at Yale because she fell asleep in her dorm common area and on two Black guys grilling in a public park in Oakland, California.

Now envision these George Zimmerman wannabes empowered with video feed from the ’hood, and told by the Newark director of police that “citizens can help us without putting themselves out there.” It’s not difficult to imagine hard-core racist trolls making a sport out of identifying Black people who look suspicious to them, alerting the cops and watching gleefully as people get jacked up, arrested, or even killed.

And that’s not the only problem. Among the oppressed there are all kinds of contradictions, and Citizen Virtual Patrol encourages people to bring the cops in to settle their scores, which is highly likely to make things worse, and means increasingly that the cops are in the middle of everybody’s business, finding out about every conflict, which can all be used to stir up divisions, recruit snitches, and identify leaders among the people who stand up against oppression and backward bullshit. All of this is immensely useful to the pigs in intensifying control over the people, particularly as they begin to rebel against their oppression, and especially if and as people take up the conscious struggle for revolution.

Ras Baraka and the Deadly Road of Trying to Make the System Work for the Oppressed

Ras Baraka is the son of the poet, playwright, and Black nationalist activist Amiri Baraka, and presents himself as a fighter against injustice. He describes himself as a “radical mayor.” He speaks with what seems like real heart about the conditions facing homeless people, about the lack of decent education, about jobless Black and Brown youth.

In 2017 he defended the righteous 1967 Newark Rebellion, saying that in the northern cities “people were moving [from the South] to find hope and employment and work and justice. They came, then was corralled and concentrated in poverty and segregation and racism still.... So all of these things create an atmosphere where people are frustrated, where they feel like they need to respond and that enough is enough.”

So why the fuck is Baraka spearheading this fascist program?

This is the logical outcome of the deadly road of working within the system, instead of working to overthrow it.

People like Baraka say that there is a way out of all the oppression without revolution, by getting people like them elected to office in cities with large Black and Latino populations. But the reality is that these cities are not independent entities—they exist within the larger system of capitalism-imperialism, which in the U.S. was built upon and still needs and enforces white supremacist oppression.

This system cannot and will not eliminate the oppression of people of color, and is in fact now moving in a genocidal direction. What it will do is offer to invest in the downtowns of impoverished cities, taking advantage of low rent and taxes while largely leaving the rest of the city and its inhabitants to rot, and blanketing their neighborhoods with police—and now, “virtual” citizen spies—to keep them under control, down, and away from the gleaming downtowns. And this is going on in Newark and is at the heart of Baraka’s plan to improve the conditions of the masses.

Baraka claims (and may believe) that he has “been able to figure out capitalism, or how to make sure that when productivity comes to your city the folks who’ve been there through the rough times are not pushed to the outskirts of the city.” He has enacted some reforms so that a small part of the jobs, housing, and tax inflow from this downtown investment trickles down to some of the masses.

But in the context of the continued brutal oppression of the big majority, all that amounts to is pacification. And the reality is that most of the wealth must be funneled into making downtown more attractive, and most of the jobs go to the mainly white and better off strata of professionals from the Newark suburbs and other areas. The new Whole Foods and the luxury condos going up downtown are far beyond the reach of the masses in Newark, whose average household income is $34,000 per year—$37,000 a year less than the statewide average.

And since capitalism cannot solve the problems of joblessness, poor education, police violence, and racism that give rise to crime and violence among the people, Baraka and others like him are compelled to amp up “enforcement” in the Black and Brown communities in order to make the city “inviting” and “safe” for capitalist investors. Whatever their intentions, Black “radicals” like Baraka end up as nothing more than front men for and enforcers of capitalism’s white supremacist rule.

This is nothing new. In fact, when Baraka was a small boy, a wave of Black mayors came into office in the wake of the ’60s rebellions—Coleman Young in Detroit, Maynard Jackson in Atlanta, Carl Stokes in Cleveland, Kenneth Gibson in Newark, and others. Most of them came out of the civil rights or Black nationalist movements, but all of them followed the logic of working within the system, and all of them ran smack up against the fact that the system as a whole was working to beat down, impoverish, and isolate the people they claimed and hoped to uplift. And from the standpoint of the system, it was helpful to have these “Black faces in high places” to preside over the workings of the system; they provided cover for policies and programs that would have been openly opposed as racist if carried out by white leaders.

Conditions for the masses continued to worsen, and along with that, the drug epidemic (heroin at that time) and accompanying crime escalated and were indeed real plagues confronting the people—plagues that essentially arose from, but also deepened and reinforced, the oppressed position of Black and Latino people.

Unable to uproot or significantly impact these conditions—because, again, these conditions thrived on the inequalities and misery this system ceaselessly generates—these mayors set out to attack the problems of crime and drugs by... escalating police repression. The War on Drugs—the driving force of mass incarceration that eventually threw millions of Black people into the brutal prison system from which they emerged (if they survived) largely unemployable and with almost no options to survive legally—was initiated and guided by Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and others at the highest levels of the system’s political apparatus. But caught in the logic of “working within the system,” these Black mayors largely threw in with the War on Drugs, opposing the decriminalization of marijuana, and supporting the ever-increasing sentences imposed for drug users and small-scale dealers, and the mandatory minimum sentences that translated into life sentences for petty crimes of survival.

Again, this is not about intentions, it is about science. As Bob Avakian (BA) has pointed out, “There is nothing more unrealistic than the idea of reforming this system into something that would come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole.” (BAsics 3:2). What is actually needed, what is realistic, even if difficult, is a thoroughgoing revolution that would uproot the whole system, and that would enlist the masses in the struggle to build a whole new world based on meeting the all-around needs of humanity, and not those of capital. Any other road has proven to lead people to becoming enforcers of the oppression of the people they may have set out at one point to serve.

quotes from BAsics: from talks and writings of
Bob Avakian

you can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics

 

Let’s talk about work and housing together. Look at all these neighborhoods which under the rule of the capitalist system have been allowed and even encouraged to rot. Look at the youth and others just hanging out on the street corner with nothing to do or no way to do anything that doesn’t get them into one kind of trouble or another. Imagine changing all that because now we have the power over society—we go to these youth and we say, “Here, we’re going to give you training. We’re going to give you education. We’re going to bring you materials. We’re going to enable you to go to work to build some beautiful housing and playgrounds and neighborhoods here for yourself and those who live here.” Imagine if we said to them, you can not just work, you can be part of planning all this, you can be part of figuring out what should be done for the benefit of the people to make this society better and to contribute to making a whole different and radically better world. Imagine if for these youth, they could have a way, not just to make a living, building housing, hospitals, community centers and parks and other things people need, but at the same time, they could have the opportunity and the dignity of working together with people throughout society to build a whole better world. There’s absolutely no reason why these things aren’t possible except that we live under this system which makes them impossible.

BAsics 2:6

 

You can think of this in terms of politics and the state: If you didn’t have, not only laws but a state apparatus of repression with the armed forces, the police, the courts, the prisons, the bureaucracies, the administrative function—if you didn’t have that, how would you maintain the basic economic relations of exploitation and the basic social relations that go along with that? How would you maintain the domination of men over women, the domination of certain nationalities or “races” over others, if you did not have a superstructure to enforce that, or if that superstructure—the politics, the ideology and culture that is promoted, the morality promoted among people—were out of alignment with those social and, fundamentally, those economic relations? Once again, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the order, stability and functioning of the system.

This is fundamentally why a system of this kind cannot be reformed. This goes back to the point that’s in the Revolution talk about systems, and how they have certain dynamics and “rules.” You can’t just play any card you want in a card game or slap a domino down any time you want, anywhere you want, because the whole thing will come unraveled. And you can’t have, as any significant phenomenon, cooperative economic relations in a system that operates on the dynamics of commodity production and exchange in which labor power itself, the ability to work, is a commodity.

A lot of reformist social democrats will talk in these terms: “Let’s have real democracy in the superstructure” (they don’t generally use terms like “superstructure,” but that’s the essence of what they mean) “and then,” they’ll say, “on that basis let’s ‘democratize’ the economy.” What would happen if you tried to implement this “democratization” of the economic base? That economic base would still be operating on the basis of, would still be driven by, the anarchy of commodity production and exchange in which, once again, labor power is also a commodity—in fact, the most basic commodity in capitalist relations and capitalist society—and soon your “democratization” of the economy would completely break down, because the dynamics of commodity production and exchange would mean that some would fare better than others, some would beat out others—plus you have the whole international arena where all this would be going on.

BAsics 1:21

 

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

BAsics 1:24

 

The first great step or great leap in the road to communism is seizing power from the capitalists. Without that none of this is possible. But seizing power from them opens that way to making the advance to communism.

Socialism is the new society established after the seizure of power. Socialism is three things: a new economic system, a new political system and a transition to the final goal of communism. Let’s talk about what this will make possible right away, once power has been seized. Let’s talk about the whole different nature of socialism as a society in which the masses of people are digging up the old rotten and putrid soil of capitalism and moving forward to the goal of a communist world.

BAsics 2:5

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/check-it-out-history-refused-to-die-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Check It Out:

History Refused to Die Exhibit at NYC Met

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Strip Medallion quilt
Annie Mae Young (American, Boykin, Alabama 1928–2012 Alberta, Alabama)

There is an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City which should not be missed. It is a modest exhibit, just a little over two rooms, but it is filled with centuries of history up to the present. It is called History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift, and the artists exhibited are all self-taught Black Southerners. These artists have been called “outsiders” or “outliers,” but as an article referring to the exhibit says: “Let’s just call all of it art.” A striking element of these works is the artists taking everyday objects, scraps, discarded and “found” pieces to make you feel the humanity of the lives they present, through a wide range of artistic works—sculptures, murals, paintings, assemblages, and, very strikingly, quilts.

To start with the quilts: Some made of worn denim work clothes—lighter blue worn where people have knelt, brighter where the pockets were. Others are pulsing with motion in colors and shapes. Some are based on traditional quilt patterns. One shows the “big house” and four slave cabins by the river. All are filled with history, emotion, toil, and creativity.

The sculpture Four Hundred Years of Free Labor was a riveting presence: Shovels, pickaxes, hoes, pitchforks, and chains welded together, standing as warriors and witnesses—defiant, tired, demanding recognition and justice. Other works also evoked different elements of the continuing oppression of Black people: Jim Crow in The End of November: The Birds That Didn’t Learn How to Fly—dead blackbird-like wads of cloth on a clothesline in front of a mottled background. The construction titled History Refused to Die is made of okra plant roots, torn drawings, painted wads of cloth, chains, bars, and a myriad of other “found” objects evoking centuries of toil and troubles. Another one references the war in Iraq, ironically titled Victory in Iraq, with metal scraps, barbed wire, gaunt iron bars in a V shape, again “found objects,” this time conjuring up total destruction and rending apart of a whole country.

These are just a few of the very striking and moving pieces in this exhibit. If you are in New York before September 23, make it a priority to check this exhibit out, both for a sense of history and also because this exhibit does what art does—it is higher than life.


Four Hundred Years of Free Labor, Joe Minter (American, born Birmingham, Alabama, 1943)


The End of November: The Birds That Didn't Learn How to Fly
Thornton Dial (American, Emelle, Alabama 1928–2016 McCalla, Alabama)


History Refused to Die
Thornton Dial (American, Emelle, Alabama 1928–2016 McCalla, Alabama)


Victory in Iraq
Thornton Dial (American, Emelle, Alabama 1928–2016 McCalla, Alabama)

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/awtwns-italy-new-fascist-government-opens-fire-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

From A World to Win News Service:

Italy’s New Fascist Government Opens Fire on Immigrants

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

June 11, 2018. A World to Win News Service. The new Italian government’s opening salvo was to order that the country’s ports be closed to an NGO ship carrying 629 people rescued from the Mediterranean, about 100 of them children. This demonstrated just what the slogan “Italians first” really means.

This is the first, but most certainly not the last, result of the parliamentary elections last March and the following three months of negotiations. What many people thought (or hoped) could never happen finally did happen: the Five Star Movement, a young, self-styled “forward-looking” party that calls for the replacement of all political parties by “direct democracy” joined with the old-line neo-fascist thugs of the League on a joint program and formed a coalition government. What makes this alliance shameful is not that Five Star, largely based in poorer southern Italy, has partnered with what was formerly named the Northern League, a party founded on the idea that the country’s southerners are less than Italian. It’s that both forces have united on the potentially genocidal stand that certain non-Italians are less than human.

The coalition’s first attempt to form a government failed when, in an unheard-of move, the country’s normally figurehead president, not chosen by direct vote, vetoed a cabinet that included an anti-European Union figure in a key ministry. The second attempt succeeded when both parties reiterated their commitment to Italy’s membership in the EU and the euro currency zone. League head Matteo Salvini and Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio became vice ministers under a supposedly neutral prime minister. But although Five Star came in far ahead of the League in the elections, the League and its policies have come to the fore.

Salvini was made Interior Minister, in charge of state repression, and has been by far the government’s loudest voice. In his ferociously anti-immigrant inaugural speeches he expanded the target to include Roma (“Gypsies”) and the practice of Islam. The new Family Minister, a Catholic fundamentalist, declared her die-hard opposition to divorce and abortion, and made her immediate goal the end of same-sex marriage. This is necessary, she said, to prevent the “erasure” of “our people.” The fact that this would appall Five Star’s more secular supporters didn’t seem to matter. Five Star’s Di Maio got to be Minister of Labor and Economic Development. The League agreed to put off its proposed “flat” tax meant to favor its more well-off social base, while Five Star did the same with its signature policies, a guaranteed income for all Italian citizens and early retirement, measures said to ease the pain of unemployment. The two forces ended up uniting around one priority: to remove, as soon as possible, half a million people—virtually everyone remaining in Italy who crossed the Mediterranean in recent years.

The result was a government program and cabinet that powerful ruling class forces behind the scenes and Italy’s traditional parties could and did accept. So did many such forces abroad, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose main concern during the negotiations was the threat to the stability of the vampire international finance system. This threat was happily avoided when the two former fringe parties backed off earlier pronouncements about balanced budgets and the euro.

But the threat to Europe’s stability has not been averted. While the same class forces as ever are mainly in charge, the new Italian government does represent a dramatic change. In Italy, as in country after country around Europe, the collapse of confidence in the widely hated “system” parties, the “center-right” and “center-left” that alternated in government since World War 2, has been appropriated by a “populism” where the “will of the people”—or at least carefully selected expressions of the most backward and reactionary sentiments among sections of the people—is being used to justify attacks on established democratic rights. This is accompanied by blatant national chauvinism untinged by “humanist” pretensions, and by stepped-up, undisguised racist violence and misogyny.

This “populism” with its “my people first” can only mean “my country first”—bringing together the ruling exploiters and the exploited and oppressed alike. The “people” are no longer defined as all inhabitants of a territory, the hallmark of modern nation states that emerged in revolutions against feudalism, but according to a mystical vision of “a people” united by their “blood” (excluding even immigrants’ children). This was exemplified in Nazi ideology as “true Germans” versus “non-Germans” such as Jews, Roma, gender non-conforming people, the disabled and so on, all to be exterminated. Now once again we see politics based on appeals to the resentments of a mythically defined “volk” (the Nazis’ favorite word, not for people in general but a particular ethnicity, to be “defended” in opposition to everyone else), who have supposedly been denied their “rightful” place at the top of the global imperialist food chain. Of course today’s leading example is the white supremacist slogan and program “Make America Great Again.” Not every populist movement has gone all the way down that road, but that’s where that road leads.

The Five Star Movement has added its own defining idea to this mix: to move politics from the streets to the Internet, distilling the will of the people through frequent Web-based referendums. The underlying claim is that what is just and right is what's expressed by the majority of people at any given place or time. The bankruptcy of this philosophy was revealed in the way Five Stars settled the debate around immigration in its own ranks on the eve of forming the new coalition government. About 94 percent of the people who chose to vote on its Web site (it has no formal members) expressed the opinion that society, the media and even the Movement's own authorities had taught them. In this way they gave their blessings to fascist homicidal maniacs about to go on a rampage.

The American fascist ideologist Steve Bannon, recently interviewed in his new stomping ground in Rome by CNN, said that Italy's new government demonstrates the possibility and necessity for alliances between Trump-like forces and part of what he called the "left" in many countries. Speaking of the U.S., he called for a union between "Trumpists" and some supporters of the "populist" presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the basis of what he called "economic nationalism", a term used to describe aspects of the Five Star Movement in Italy. It could also apply to similar nationalist "leftist" and "socialist" forces in other countries, like the movement led by Jean-Luc Melenchon in France and even Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in the UK. 

What comes first, "my people", "my country" – or the interests of the world's people, of humanity? What none of Italy’s major parties, fascist or mainstream, is willing to acknowledge is the truth behind what has been driving millions of migrants out of their own homes in the first place: that the desperate conditions in their homelands is bound up with the generations-old division between the oppressor countries in the West and the oppressed countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Or as one slogan popular in pro-refugee protests puts it, “They’re over here because we’re over there”.

What's happening in Italy shows the truth and power of this dividing line and the necessity to wage political and ideological struggle with people's backwardness on this question, while vigorously and urgently stepping up opposition to the fascist movements and regimes and their conscious or unwilling collaborators. 

 

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


The new Italian government's opening salvo was to order that the country's ports be closed to an NGO ship carrying 629 people rescued from the Mediterranean, about 100 of them children. This demonstrated just what the slogan "Italians first" really means. Italy sent two ships (one of which is shown above) to take the stranded immigrants to Spain instead. Photo: AP

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/517/american-crime-case-55-the-1994-north-american-free-trade-agreement-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

EDITORS’ NOTE: The Trump/Pence regime has attacked NAFTA as a “job killer” and a “bad deal” for America. This demagoguery covers up the real truth about NAFTA, including whose lives it has actually devastated. Trump’s attacks on NAFTA are part of his campaign to target immigrants, whip up “America First” xenophobia, and make U.S. imperialism’s domination of Mexico and other countries even more ruthless and predatory. We encourage readers to share this installment of American Crime widely. It is essential reading in this time of Trump/Pence fascism.

American Crime

Case # 55: The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement—NAFTA (Part 1)

November 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 


A “free trade” agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented in 1994 with much fanfare. In reality, NAFTA was a predatory treaty whose effect was to ratchet up the cruel and reckless plunder of Mexico and its people.  But the most damaging effects of NAFTA in Mexico lay in the changes it brought to Mexico’s countryside. There it inflicted vulture-like destruction to millions of small and medium peasant farmers, especially its corn farmers.  Here, Mexican farmers protest the end of import protections for their country's corn and bean crops in Mexico City, 2008. (Photo: AP)

 

The Crime: A “free trade” agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), was implemented in 1994 with much fanfare. The secretly negotiated 2,000-page treaty was touted as a measure to bring increased prosperity to the people of the three countries. In fact, NAFTA was a predatory treaty whose effect was to ratchet up the cruel and reckless plunder of Mexico and its people.

Under NAFTA, maquiladora factory “sweatshops” along the U.S.-Mexico border expanded dramatically. Within a short time after NAFTA’s ratification, more than 1,000 maquila factories employed a million workers, 75 percent of them women, in oppressive conditions producing cheap goods for U.S. manufacturers at a fraction of the wages paid to U.S. workers.

But the most damaging effects of NAFTA in Mexico lay in the changes it brought to Mexico’s countryside. There it inflicted vulture-like destruction to millions of small and medium peasant farmers, especially its corn farmers.

Corn is not only Mexico’s chief crop, it is almost synonymous with Mexico itself, part of an agricultural food system going back to the time long before the European invasion. Mexican farmers are highly skilled agriculturalists who, over time, and through careful selection methods, developed hundreds of varieties of nutritious corn adapted to the soils, climate, and other growing conditions in different parts of the country. These mainly small- and medium-size farms used the resources at hand to maintain soil fertility and healthy crops without resorting to artificial fertilizers or industrial poisons—herbicides and pesticides—common in modern capitalist farms. They were “organic” farmers before the term ever came into use. But in the eyes of NAFTA’s crafters in the U.S. and Mexico, Mexican farmers were backward and an impediment to “progress.”

Prior to NAFTA, and as prelude to it, the government of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari altered Mexico’s revolutionary-era constitution, which had protected peasant communal land known as ejidos. The change allowed these peasant farmlands to be sold, putting them at the mercy of market conditions.

Before NAFTA, Mexican farmers were an exploited population, but there were government subsidies for farmers and tariffs to maintain some price stability and protect farmers’ livelihoods. NAFTA eliminated these tariffs. As originally written and promoted, these tariffs were to be phased out over a 15-year period. But this did not happen. Instead tariffs were eliminated in the span of a few years, opening Mexico’s markets to a flood of cheap U.S. corn. As U.S. corn and other staples poured into Mexico, producer prices dropped as much as 70 percent and small farmers found themselves unable to make a living.

NAFTA’s promoters claimed that subsistence farmers would not be hurt by lowered corn prices since they did not depend on the market. This reflected a total—likely willful—ignorance. Even farmers able to subsist on their own production relied on the sale of corn to purchase products and services they themselves could not produce, like health care. These farmers’ lives were devastated.

At the same time, despite the influx of cheap U.S. corn, consumer food prices actually rose, including the cost of the crucial food staple of the Mexican diet, the tortilla. For example, in 1994 Mexico’s minimum wage (about $4.20 per day) bought 44.9 pounds of tortillas. By 2003 the minimum wage bought only 18.6 pounds.

Since NAFTA, U.S. and other corporations have gobbled up human and natural resources in Mexico on an almost unbelievable scale. Livestock production has moved from small farms for local markets to corporate producers like Tyson, Smithfield, and Pilgrim’s Pride.

Once NAFTA became the law of the land, millions of Mexicans joined the ranks of the hungry. Malnutrition is highest among the country’s farm families, who used to produce enough food to feed the nation. In post-NAFTA Mexico, 42 percent of the food consumed comes from abroad.

Before NAFTA, Mexico spent $1.8 billion on food imports. By 2011, that rose to $24 billion, as Mexico became dependent on imports of rice (80 percent), soybeans (95 percent), beans (33 percent), and wheat (56 percent). Mexico’s thriving dairy sector was devastated under NAFTA, and Mexico became the world’s number one importer of powdered milk, a factor that is linked to a crisis in infant malnutrition.

NAFTA increased the percentage of the population without access to basic food, and the number of Mexican children suffering from malnutrition rose to 20 percent.

In the first years of NAFTA, some 1.3 million Mexicans were forced off their land. The flood of workers into the cities caused a 10 percent fall in industrial wages. Female-headed households saw their poverty rate increase by 50 percent.

Suicide rates in agricultural states soared as a direct result of NAFTA’s destruction of farm life and the rise in poverty and hunger. The states of Campeche and Tabasco had suicides rates of 9.14 and 9.85 per 100,000 in 2005—almost three times the national average.

With the experience of hunger and malnutrition as an everyday reality and starvation a realistic possibility for themselves and their families, many farmers felt that they had little choice but to leave their farming lifestyle and head north to the U.S.

“Before NAFTA, everybody here grew corn. People didn’t make much money, but nobody went hungry,” according to Griselda Mendoza, 23, sharing common lore from her region of Oaxaca. She was born just after NAFTA was signed. As cheap American corn poured in, it had devastating effects on her family. Her father, Benancio, couldn’t compete. He had to give up and move to the United States for a job. He took up a job as a cook in Tennessee, saving up money to send home so his kids could attend school. “He went north looking for a job and I didn’t see him again for 18 years,” says Mendoza.

The architects of NAFTA actually foresaw the ruinous effects it would have on millions of Mexicans. Testifying before Congress in 1993, before the passage of NAFTA, INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) commissioner Doris Meissner stated: “Responding to the likely short-to-medium-term impacts of NAFTA, will require strengthening our enforcement efforts along the border both at and between ports of entry.”

“Strengthening enforcement” meant a dramatic increase in militarization of the border, the building of a border wall, and laws criminalizing immigrants that came in measures passed during the administration of Bill Clinton. Deadly conditions created by these repressive laws have lead to thousands of deaths and have kept millions of immigrants from being able to return for visits, effectively cutting them off from their homes and families indefinitely.

The Criminals:

President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993): Began negotiations to include Mexico in the recently signed “free trade” agreement between the U.S. and Canada.

President Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Pushed through the 1994 ratification of NAFTA with the active backing of the U.S. Business Round Table and major corporations and financial groups. Clinton claimed that the treaty would lift people in all countries. But starting in 1994, anticipating an increase in immigrants fleeing from the effects of NAFTA, Clinton’s administration passed several deadly and oppressive measures, Operation Gatekeeper (1994) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Together these measures greatly increased the danger of crossing the Mexico-U.S. border and have led to thousands of deaths, massive deportations, and criminal treatment for millions of immigrants coming north from Mexico and Central America.

Mexico’s President Carlos Salinas de Gortari: Presided over Mexico’s NAFTA negotiations. Under Salinas, a member of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) which had ruled Mexico since the late 1920s, the government altered Article 27 of the Mexican constitution to end protections of indigenous communal lands. This change allowed transnational agribusiness “to buy, rent, or enter into association” with communal landholders. This was a stepping stone to NAFTA. Salinas oversaw the privatization of Mexico’s telephone company and banks among a thousand other public entities, some at fire sale prices and to personal friends, and foreign—especially U.S.―capital. Salinas promoted NAFTA with the help of powerful Mexican business interests, claiming it would lift Mexico into the ranks of prosperous “first world” countries. But as his term ended in 1994, Mexico’s economy crashed and Salinas fled the country into exile in a fashion that reminded people of Porfirio Diaz, the infamous Mexican autocrat whose rule gave rise to the Mexican revolution.

The Alibi:

Largely negotiated under George H.W. Bush and passed during the presidency of Bill Clinton (after a trade agreement had been negotiated between the U.S. and Canada), NAFTA was touted as a great boon, to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, benefiting ordinary people in all three countries through more and better jobs and greater prosperity. It was claimed that lifting of trade tariffs would create “a level playing field” allowing wages and living conditions to become more even over time.

The Real Motive:

Creating “a level playing field” and equalizing wages and living conditions was never NAFTA’s intent (nor was it possible under capitalism-imperialism).

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, George H.W. Bush used the phrase “the new world order” to signal U.S.'s intention to reinforce its military, economic, and political dominance in the world. NAFTA can be seen as a key component of this “new world order.”

NAFTA was designed to create a “free trade zone” to meet the challenges of global rivalry from the European Union, Japan, and rising economies in East Asia. The U.S. goal was to combine its financial and technical strength, along with Canada’s, with Mexico’s imperialist-dominated economy and government, and its large population of low-wage workers and poor peasant farmers. By lowering tariffs on imported and exported goods within the North American free trade zone, NAFTA sought to boost the U.S. economy by relocating some U.S. manufacturing to Mexico, where low wages, nonexistent environmental laws, and paltry worker protections gave these companies an advantage in the global game of profit accumulation. Ending tariffs allowed U.S. car manufacturers, for example, to off-shore their parts production and reduce the costs of their cars.

Corn farming in the U.S., unlike in Mexico, is the domain of huge agribusiness conglomerates employing highly capitalized and mechanized industrial farming methods. Under the guiding hand of agricultural monopolies like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), U.S. corn is grown on huge tracts of land using advanced technical methods to bring the cost of corn per unit down. Corn seeds are selected or genetically engineered, not for nutrition or local adaptation but for maximum yield at the lowest cost.

On top of this, U.S. government farm subsidies in 2000 were 10 times greater than the total agricultural budget of Mexico, and the U.S. corn sector is the largest single recipient of U.S. government payments. Thus, huge U.S. agribusinesses had access to U.S. corn surpluses at artificially depressed prices.

All this meant that U.S. corn could be sold at prices well below those possible from Mexico’s small farms. In the words of an Oxfam report on NAFTA: “Far from operating on a ‘level playing field’, small farmers in Chiapas and elsewhere in Mexico are at the wrong end of a steeply sloping playing field which runs downhill from the US Mid-West. They are competing not against US farmers, but against US taxpayers and the world’s most powerful treasury. It is difficult to think of a starker illustration of unfair trade in practice.”

So lowering Mexico’s tariffs on food opened it to more cheaply produced and subsidized U.S. farm products like corn, as well as other U.S. agricultural goods. And this meant potentially huge profits for corporate U.S. growers, eventual control of the food market in Mexico, and the devastation of over a million Mexican farmers just in NAFTA’s first years.

In addition to the destruction of corn farmers, NAFTA opened the floodgates to investment in other areas of Mexican farm production. Much of the investment that arrived went to buying up existing productive capacity, including livestock operations and storage facilities. The absorption of Mexican chicken production by Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride is an example.

Net exports from the northern part of Mexico grew after NAFTA, but that expansion paled in comparison with new imports of grain, oilseeds, and meat from the United States. After 10 years under NAFTA, Mexico was dependent on the United States for much of its food.

Under NAFTA the millions of small farmers and their families driven off the land were foreseen to become cheap labor in U.S.-owned factories in Mexico and in the fields and other work places in the U.S.

At an AFL-CIO convention in 1997, U.S. President Clinton, citing the challenge to U.S. economic hegemony posed by economic rivals, acknowledged that free trade was “about how 4 percent of the world’s people [the U.S] can continue to hold 20 percent of the world’s wealth.”

Sources:

Cockcroft, James, Mexico’s Hope. Monthly Review Press 1998

Fanjul, G. and Fraser, A, “Dumping without Borders: How US Agricultural Policies are Destroying the livelihoods of Mexican Corn Farmers.” Oxfam Briefing Paper. Oxfam International, Washington, DC, 2003

Krooth, Richard, Mexico, NAFTA and the Hardships of Progress. McFarland and Co., Inc. No. Carolina, London, 1995

Lopez, Ann, The Farmworkers’ Journey. UC Press, 2007

Nadal, Alejandro, The Environmental & Social Impacts of Economic Liberalization on Corn Production in Mexico. Oxfam, September 2000

Nevins, Joseph, Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War On “Illegals” and the Remaking of the U.S. ‒ Mexico Boundary, 2002, second edition 2010

The World Post, “Nafta is Starving Mexico,” Lauren Carlsen, director of the Americas Program for the Center for International Policy in Mexico City

Patel, Raj, Stuffed and Starved. Melville House, 2012

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/system-lashes-out-at-chicago-revolution-club-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

The System Lashes Out at Revolution Club Chicago, 7 Arrested at Puerto Rican Parade

A Sign of Strength or Weakness? Make These Attacks a Rock They Drop on Their Own Feet and Advance the Revolution Through This

June 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “Three Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program for revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. (Underlining added)” How We Can Win— How We Can Really Make Revolution, pages 5-6

Chicago’s annual “People’s Puerto Rican Parade” down Division Street in the Humboldt Park neighborhood was held on June 16.  Humboldt Park is one of the largest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in the U.S., a center of historic gang conflicts and police killing people. There is a huge reservoir of outrage in the neighborhood in the wake of all the unnecessary deaths this system has inflicted upon the Puerto Rican people in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The Revolution Club made plans to take our message of revolution, concentrated in the pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN” and the special flier for the parades, to the crowds at the parade and call on people to enlist in the revolution. We planned to be in the park all day and do an outdoor showing of the film of BA’s talk in the park at dusk.

We arrived on the scene well before the parade was to step off and set up on a sidewalk near an empty lot, along the parade route.  There were vendors all along the parade route selling Puerto Rican flags, food, drinks, etc. Many were blaring loud music from their booths. Shortly after we set up, the crowd of police came, surrounded us, said we needed a permit, can’t use sound and were trying to shut us down. We challenged that this was not the case and the police backed off and left.

For about two hours, we agitated and organized. We had huge posters of the “Five Stops” and another one made especially for the parade with photos of the devastation in Puerto Rico. We agitated over a bullhorn, ripping into the glaring contradication of U.S. imperialism’s historic role in Puerto Rico and Trump’s outrageous neglect of the Puerto Rican people since the hurricane, as well as tearing into the “Five Stops” and our full core message. We got out copies of “How We Can Win—How We Can Really Make Revolution” and the flier on Puerto Rico and enlisted people in the revolution.

Shortly before the parade was about to start the pigs returned. This time more than a dozen of them. They surrounded the club. Noche Diaz continued to agitate about the U.S. role in Puerto Rico and also the role of the police. Then they swarmed and began grabbing people, dragging them to the ground and arresting seven club members. (See video at right.)

Why were these pigs lashing out in this way?  A white-shirt cop let the cat out of the bag. A club member’s video of the agitation and arrest picked up this white-shirt talking on his radio (presumably to someone higher up) and saying he gave people a warning about “inciting the crowd.” They were trying to stop what we were saying and the potential for people to hear it. It is clear that they fear this message connecting with the masses. They did not like the content of what we were saying. We were not “inciting the people” and they made up different charges at the station. Everyone was charged with misdemeanor obstructing the police and Noche was also charged with two municipal code violations (tickets) for disorderly conduct and a sound ordinance.

After the arrests, emails, texts, and tweets went out immediately, calling people to call the nearest police station and demand the release of the revolutionaries. Calls came in from around the country. It took a while to find out where the police actually took the arrested club members. They weren’t at the nearby police stations. People feared they might be locked in a paddy wagon in the blistering heat.  The police at the nearest station finally began telling people where they were in order to get people to stop calling them.

Supporters of the revolution joined the club members left in the park. They weren’t going to let this arrest shut down the club's plan. They made a big sign about the arrests and went out to the crowds with “How We Can Win” and the parade flier with a call for the film showing on the back.
 
They set up, with posters and displays in the park and got ready for the outdoor film showing. Police watched from across the street but left the crew alone. At dusk they started playing the talk. People streaming by caught parts of the film, some came to the table for materials, and took fliers. One young man ran up and saying, “Bob Avakian, that’s my man.”  He turned out to be a history student from Wisconsin who knew all about BA’s history with the Black Panther Party. He left his number as he rushed off to join his friends.

This arrest of seven people from the club, followed the arrest of four people, including former Black Panther and veteran revolutionary communist, Joe Veale, the previous Saturday (see “Action Alert: 7 Members of Revolution Club Chicago Attacked by Police at Puerto Rican Parade Demand That the Charges Be Dropped!”), and an outrageous hearing in Maya’s court case on Tuesday (“Judge Slams Down the Rules in 'Sacred Space', Threatens Maya and Her Supporters with Jail”).

This strategy of repeated arrests, tying people up in lengthy and costly court battles, which sends a message to the masses “you hook up with them and this is what you will face,” is a long-time strategy of the political police. This, accompanied with violent murders directly by the police or people whipped up by their COINTELPRO efforts to spread lies and pit different groups against each other, was used to crush the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

This lashing-out presents us with powerful necessity to turn these attacks around. This is how the revolutionary movement develops. The revolutionaries step out, make advances, and the counter-revolution attacks, and their attacks must be met with more revolution. This involves waging battles in the legal arena, the arena of public opinion, and rallying people broadly to defend the Revolution Club. In doing this we can wrench out new freedom, rally many more forces fully into the revolution and bring others into supporting this movement in various ways. 

Here are the Revolution Club’s immediate plans for doing exactly that:

  1. File for a temporary restraining order (and then a permanent restraining order) on the Chicago police from attacking and arresting the Revolution Club for engaging in protected speech.
  2. Hold a press conference with lawyers and others to announce above filing in court.
  3. Compile a fact sheet about the breadth of attacks to be used to reach out to lawyers, journalists, First Amendment activists, and freedom loving people broadly in society.
  4. Issue a “Hands Off The Revolution Club” statement that can be signed, distributed broadly and posted in key areas.
  5. Reach out to Refuse Fascism and anti-repression organizations to issue statements in support of the Revolution Club and rally others in support.
  6. Enlist legal observers, clergy, and other supporters, etc. to go out with the club when they are taking their message to the people.
  7. Raise funds everywhere including rallying people to organize a fundraising event soon.

Finally, turn these attacks around by stepping up exactly what the authorities are trying to stop. Getting the strategy for revolution, concentrated in “How We Can Win— How We Can Really Make Revolution,” out even more widely and continuing to strengthen our agitation around our core message and organize, organize, organize many more people into the movement for an ACTUAL revolution.

Memorial Day Weekend: Chicago Police Drive Black Teens Out of Downtown

The repression directed against the Chicago Revolution Club is an effort to suppress revolutionary leadership. The authorities are also working hard to suppress those most in need of revolution. What they really fear is the two getting connected.

Black youth often come downtown from the south and west sides to escape gang conflicts and police harassment in their neighborhoods. They come to relax on the beaches, hang out and just chill. They often get fucked with by the police. In a scene reminiscent of South African apartheid, the police in Chicago ran roughshod over crowds of Black teens who came downtown over the Memorial Day weekend.

Here is the Chicago Tribune’s description of this:

Officers also descended on beaches and parks south of Fullerton, the downtown area that includes North Michigan Avenue and the South Loop. Much of their efforts focused on large groups of youths that were at times roaming through those areas, some of them causing disruptions to people and businesses. In one instance, groups of teens damaged property at a Target store at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street, Chicago police said.

Several people from these crowds were arrested on misdemeanor reckless conduct and disorderly conduct offenses during the weekend. Officers would corral the groups onto CTA Red Line trains at Chicago Avenue and State Street, forcing them to ride toward the South Side, police sources said.

The crowds swelled so much at Chicago and State that, according to CTA spokeswoman Irene Ferradaz, a Red Line train was stopped for almost 15 minutes at the request of police to get people off the train. Buses were also deployed to transport people away from the area.

Much of the teenage crowd aboard the trains exited at 35th Street and tried to make their way east toward the lake, only to be met by more cops along the way, police sources said.

In case it isn’t clear to people not from Chicago: The pigs stopped trains downtown, emptied them and forced crowds of youth onto the train to the South Side. Then when the youth exited and moved toward South Side beaches, the police vamped on them again.

Read, print and get out all over

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/judge-threatens-maya-and-supporters-with-jail-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

From Revolution Club Chicago

Judge Slams Down the Rules in "Sacred Space", Threatens Maya and Her Supporters with Jail

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To remind readers. Maya from the Revolution Club, Chicago was arrested on March 1 by University of Chicago police after participating in 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants facing deportation. This protest occurred inside the student center that is open to the public. It was part of a national day of protest organized by Refuse Fascism. The four protesters held up sheets of paper that said, “11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants” and stood in silence. The normal din at lunchtime turned to a hush for 11 minutes. When the protesters tried to exit, they were blocked by University police who grabbed Maya, dragged her down the stairs and charged HER with felony battery on the police officer, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

At Maya’s bond hearing, the court was filled with people being run through a meat-grinder, routine of getting bond. The place became very quiet when the State’s Attorney began talking about Maya’s case because this was anything but routine. The State’s Attorney read from what sounded like an FBI-type dossier. According to people who witnessed this, the State’s Attorney claimed that Maya had assaulted a police officer, was associated with “revcom,” informing the judge that revcom was the Revolutionary Communist Party. She brought out intimate details about Maya’s previous arrests and charges and her out of state address. All this to paint Maya as a dangerous person who should not be released.  Maya’s attorney objected, described the silent protest Maya was part of, pointed out that her previous cases were irrelevant and were dismissed. The judge released Maya on her own recognizance. Maya’s lawyers are trying to get copies of the paper the State’s Attorney read as part of their discovery in this case.

On Tuesday, June 12 there was a routine "status hearing” for Maya. A team stayed outside the main Cook County Criminal Court agitating about all the alarming attacks coming down on immigrants and calling for Maya’s charges to be dropped while 17 supporters went inside the courtroom. This included members of the Revolution Club (all wearing their “BA Speaks, Revolution Nothing Less!” t-shirts), people from Refuse Fascism and others. They sat and listened as case after case was called for the overwhelmingly Black and Latino defendants caught up in the criminal injustice system. As Maya’s case approached, three sheriffs came into the already crowded small courtroom with their eyes on Maya and her supporters.

When Maya’s case was finally called, all her supporters stood up. There was some very routine brief back-and-forth between the lawyers and judge about getting more discovery, and a date of July 19 was set for another status hearing. But then something very un-routine occurred, jarring not only Maya’s supporters but all the other people still waiting for their cases to be heard. The judge turned to Maya saying that the last time she was in court she had made a gesture when leaving that was unacceptable. The judge continued. She had put her fist in the air to her supporters as she re-entered the gallery where her supporters were seated.

The judge made clear that raising her fist was not simply unacceptable and a violation of the decorum in this “sacred space” but, he said, if it happened again, it would be grounds for revoking her bond and locking her up. When her lawyer questioned this, and whether it was even legal, the judge made clear that he was adding this as a restriction to her bond. Raise your fist, you go to jail, where Maya could languish until her case comes to trial.

Sacred space? What a sick joke.  As Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, the author of the book Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court, addresses in a 2016 New York Times op-ed, a report by a panel commissioned by the city of Chicago in the wake of the uproar surrounding the murder of Laquan McDonald, “racism in the city’s Police Department is rampant: Blacks are disproportionately subjected to traffic stops, Tasers and street stops that do not lead to arrest; they also account for an appalling 74 percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 2015.

Van Cleve goes on, “What the report does not say, though—and what many Chicagoans themselves may not know—is that the rottenness is not confined to the Police Department. Racist practices extend far into the criminal courts, indeed they are the very foundation of the cases that enter into the court system. The hands of many judges and prosecutors are just as dirty as the bigots in blue.”  [our emphasis]

In response to this outrage, most of Maya’s supporters raised their fists as they left the courtroom with Maya. The judge then threatened Maya’s supporters with being jailed for contempt of court if this happened again. Contempt of court is a draconian power. No hearing, no trial, no jury, no due process.

In the days since Maya’s hearing the fault line around immigration attacks has opened even wider as outrage spreads in cities and towns over Trump’s vicious move of tearing 2,000 immigrant children from their parents' arms and jailing these children. Maya’s supporters are laying plans to blast this outrage in Maya’s case out widely via media and social media and counter this outrageous attack by rallying many more people to Maya’s support and into the revolution and to oppose the horrors being rained down on immigrants and drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Donate to Maya’s Legal Fund

 

Read, print and get out all over

 

On March 1, University of Chicago police brutally attacked and arrested Maya, a member of the Revolution Club Chicago, for participating in a SILENT protest in support of undocumented immigrants.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/serious-escalation-in-repression-against-revolution-club-by-chicago-authorities-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Multiple arrests in one week:

Serious Escalation in Repression against Revolution Club by Chicago Authorities

June 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In a serious escalation of repression, authorities in Chicago are arresting revolutionaries on bogus charges.  In one week, at two public festivals, 11 people with the Revolution Club have been arrested on ridiculous pretexts.  In one case, they are mainly charged with misdemeanor obstructing/resisting a peace [sic] officer.  This is punishable by up to one year in jail.  There were also citations for violation of sound ordinances.  In the other case, the charges are criminal [sic] trespass on a public street!

They were not, in fact, violating any law or sound ordinance.  What they were doing was spreading a message among sections of the oppressed who are trapped on the bottom of this society—ideas that the authorities clearly consider “dangerous.”  The Revolution Club representatives were powerfully exposing the crimes of this system and how they flow from the very nature of this capitalist-imperialist system.  Telling the truth that this cannot be reformed but requires that this system of capitalism must be overthrown by millions, and that there is a strategy and a leadership for how to do this.  The Revolution Club was distributing a pamphlet titled, “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.

How do we know this is escalating political repression?  The pattern—in what the police and prosecutors DO and what they SAY—makes this clear.  Here is just some of the evidence:

At the June 16 arrest at the Puerto Rican Day parade, in the midst of music blaring everywhere as vendors hawked their wares, the Revolution Club set up a display and staged a rally on a corner of a vacant lot along the parade route.  As Noche Diaz, a representative of the Revolution Club, denounced the outrageous treatment of people in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria; the demonization of immigrants and the literal ripping of immigrant children from their parent’s arms in Trump’s America, the police surrounded this Black, white, and Latino crew in Revolution Club t-shirts. Noche then called out the role of the police in enforcing this brutal system.  

Right after a high ranking officer, who is captured on video saying over his radio “second warning for inciting the crowd,” at least twenty police swarmed and brutally arrested seven people shortly before the parade was to begin. 

Incitement means directly calling on people to perform an imminent illegal action. The Revolution Club was calling on people to learn about and get organized for a revolution, which is legally protected speech (well established in Supreme Court rulings).  This clearly indicates the police were reacting to the content of the speech. 

This was a pre-emptive style arrest, sweeping up and holding the Revolution Club till wee hours of the morning to prevent this message from being heard in Humboldt Park on that day.  If the Revolution Club could not get a hearing, why even bother with these arrests when the police must have had their hands full with a major parade?  The authorities were afraid—there were thousands of people from the Puerto Rican community gathered, many of whom are seething over the cruel abandonment of people in the wake of the hurricane, resulting in 1000’s of deaths and massive displacement and still no reliable electrical grid.  This was suppression of political expression, pure and simple. 

  • In March, a Revolution Club member was arrested for taking part in 11 minutes of silence for 11 million immigrants in the student center at the University of Chicago and charged with a felony for this silent, non-violent witness.  At her bail hearing, in a highly unusual and revealing move, the prosecutor read from a sheet of paper telling the judge she should be denied bail because she is a “RevCom,” further informing the judge that this is the Revolutionary Communist Party. The prosecutor also raised previous arrests for Revolution Club activity, which had already been dismissed, to bolster the claim that she was dangerous. 

    This was a political dossier. Where did it come from?  It didn’t show what the prosecutor claimed but it did reveal the politically motivated harassment of the Revolution Club.  Further, at a recent court hearing the judge threatened to revoke the bail on the defendant because she had silently raised her fist when joining her supporters in court, and then the judge threatened the supporters with contempt for giving the fist in response to the judge’s threat to revoke the bail!
  • A week before the arrests at the Puerto Rican Day parade at a street festival in Back of the Yards (a Latino and Black neighborhood), Joe Veale a former Black Panther and a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party, along with three other members of the Revolution Club, were set upon by the police right after they began speaking to people out on the street and getting out the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.  Joe was exposing the police murder of Maurice Granton, Jr. that had happened just days before in a neighboring predominately Black community. The high-ranking officer who took them to the squadrol kept saying, “this is not political”—as if repeating this would wash off the highly political character of the arrests. 

In all of these arrests, sound systems and boxes of pamphlets were seized and are still being held.  Women defendants report invasive and intentionally humiliating searches.  The authorities aim is clearly to chill the Revolution Club from boldly going out to speak to people especially in minority communities.  The police and the authorities are declaring that they will determine what political ideas and movements oppressed people can be exposed to and consider taking up as their own.  All this is very dangerous precedent. 

And this is part of a pattern by the Chicago Police Department

This current wave of arrests is a continuation and escalation of what happened last summer.  Many of the arrests in 2017 were in Engelwood, where the 7th District is Chicago’s model of “community policing”—code words for developing surveillance, networks of informants, and riding roughshod on a part of the city where violence among the people has taken a heart breaking toll.  The commander of the 7th District personally directed or defended the arrests as well as the harassment of people in the community.  Youth in the neighborhood who wanted to learn about the club and take part in political activities were threatened by the police, ordered to take off the Revolution Club’s t-shirt or there would be hell to pay. 

A legal observer of Revolution Club rallies and arrests in Englewood documented the repeated statements of the district commander that he did not want the Revolution Club there because he did not like their message.  When told repeatedly by the attorney that he cannot suppress this protected First Amendment activity because he didn’t like the content, he then threatened, “I will do it legally.  I will make sure that I enforce every law that I can find against this group.”

What You Can Do

This blatant political repression must be exposed and opposed.  Your help—and your voice—is needed now. 

If you are a journalist, we ask that you investigate and report on this illegal campaign of harassment being carried out by the Chicago Police Department (CPD).  Who was the high-ranking officer speaking to over his radio to get the authorization for the arrests?  Who provided the prosecutor with a political dossier on a Revolution Club member?  What would the Freedom of Information Act on these arrests show?  You can interview the defendants and let them tell their story.

If you are a lawyer, help defend those arrested.  And help us fashion legal responses to the whole pattern of selective prosecution, harassment and suppression of First Amendment activity at the whim of the CPD.  The Revolution Club intends to fight for a restraining order against the CPD but we need legal help as soon as possible to do this.

If you are someone who sees the dangerous precedents being set here, if you support the rights of the Revolution Club to share their message especially with those who have been locked out and locked down, if you are reminded of the quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller under the Nazis that, “First they came for the communists, but I did not speak out because I was not a communist...” help us oppose and defeat this political repression.  Learn from history—raise your voice, come to court hearings, and share this.  Together let’s put the authorities on notice that many people are watching.

Very importantly: DONATE MUCH NEEDED FUNDS to replace seized equipment, mount legal defenses and legal challenges, and to support the work of the Revolution Club.  One reason authorities arrest people over and over is to tie them up and drain their resources (as well as setting them up with records for more serious prosecution along the line).  If, instead, these efforts at suppression boomerang and draw more support to the side of the revolutionaries then the authorities have more to weigh in carrying out their repression.

Download, print and spread this article (PDF format)

Read, print and get out all over

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/the-police-must-stop-their-attacks-on-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

The Revolution Club Chicago forwarded this leaflet June 19. Last week, there were two brutal police attacks on the Revolution Club in Chicago with multiple arrests, part of a pattern of escalating political repression against revolutionaries. See here for more.

Updated June 25, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

THE POLICE MUST STOP THEIR ATTACKS ON THE REVOLUTION!

We Have the Right to Raise Our Heads!

 

In the last week and a half, Chicago police have carried out 11 arrests of revolutionaries on bullshit charges, trying to keep them away from the people. The revolution will not be backed off or shut down!

At a time of immigrant children being ripped from their parents, a horrific death toll in Puerto Rico, police-state repression of Black and Brown people, and countless other horrific crimes of this system, the Revolution Club has been organizing all over the country with the message: This system cannot be reformed. It must be OVERTHROWN!

Now we ALL need to step forward.

  • Take this flyer and spread the word about these attacks on the Revolution Club and bring more people into the revolution.
  • Put on and put up the sticker that says, “The Police Must Stop Their Attacks on the Revolution! We Have the Right to Raise Our Heads!”
  • Check out HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution, the strategy for the revolution. It says,
    “While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the 3 Prepares: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard–Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win.  We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution – protest and resist the injustice and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every jolt in society – every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept – we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, ‘encircle,’ brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to ‘encircle’ them – by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.
  • Donate (at gofundme.com/RevolutionSummerChicagoFund) and organize fundraising activities to spread the word and gather much needed funds for legal defense, to replace materials and equipment seized by the police, and strengthen the movement for revolution.
  • Come see about the revolution at Revolution Club Organizing Center, 1857 E. 71st St., or go to the website revcom.us. Learn about Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, and the strategy and goals of this revolution.
  • Follow @RevClubChi and @TuneIntoRevcom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – share and re-post memes and videos.

Contact Revolution Club Chicago at 312.804.9121 or revclub.chi@gmail.com.

Download, print and spread "THE POLICE MUST STOP THEIR ATTACKS ON THE REVOLUTION" (PDF format)

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/andy-zee-two-points-on-trump-pence-fascism-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

To those who argue that the Trump/Pence Regime cannot be fascist because it doesn’t have a coherent ideology...

By Andy Zee, co-initiator, RefuseFascism 

June 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To those who argue that the Trump/Pence Regime cannot be fascist because it doesn’t have a coherent ideology. Two Points:

[1] The 2018 Refuse Fascism Call to Action concisely identifies the regime’s cohering ideology: “‘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.”

[2] Applied in practice: Tearing children from migrating parents while demonizing, criminalizing, terrorizing, locking in detention camps and deporting immigrants and refugees—including denying women migrants who have suffered life threatening domestic abuse the right to apply for asylum. Then, JUSTIFYING this with CHRISTIAN FASCIST biblical literalism. In short, the Trump/Pence Regime carries out a fascist program with the ideology of a Christian Fascist Theocracy

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

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

Read, share and endorse the full Call to Action here.

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/trumps-promise-is-worse-than-worthless-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Trump's Promise Is Worse Than Worthless

Step Up the Struggle Against This Fascist Immigration Policy

June 21, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order that he claimed would solve the problem of the heartless separation of immigrant children who were arrested for the “crime” of fleeing murder and starvation. Early online coverage in places like the New York Times immediately began claiming that “Trump has caved,” and basically signaled that the struggle had been won.

Trump has NOT caved, and the struggle is far from over. All this order does is say that “the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” This is barely a concession at all—that from here on out, the Administration will try to unjustly imprison families together rather than apart (though that depends on “available resources”).  

Meanwhile, the administration promises NOTHING on reuniting the 2,300 children who have already been torn from their parents and consigned to federal “shelters,” which are often nothing more than concentration-camp-like sets of cages. Whether some of these children will ever be reunited with their parents—many of whom have now been deported—is an open question.

Further, this executive order upholds the “zero tolerance” policy, which means that everyone who is arrested for illegal entry to the United States—including people who by international treaty have the right to seek asylum—will continue to be put in shackles and dragged through courts where judges dispense assembly-line justice to 70, 80, 100 prisoners at a time.

Some have pointed out that this whole offensive escalates what was already a horrible situation under Obama—who DID imprison whole families for the crime of fleeing persecution and misery and who did deport more immigrants than any previous president. When this was dragged into light, Obama responded by trying to tamp things down. He allowed some parents to be free from detention while they were either legally seeking asylum (which is NOT a criminal offense, by the way!) or awaiting trial for illegal entry, which Obama classified as a civil not a criminal offense. And he gave aid to Mexico so that they would stop the immigrants from the Central American countries on the southern border of Mexico, by any means necessary. In other words, he exported the brutality and heartlessness away from U.S. television cameras.

The Trump/Pence regime has escalated this in four ways. One, they almost totally shut down the asylum process. Two, they instituted a “zero tolerance” policy that means that everyone charged with illegally crossing the border would be tried as a criminal, which means that their children would be seized from them by the government. Three, Trump himself accompanied this with classic fascist rhetoric—saying that immigrants were “infesting” the country, as if they were bedbugs, that they were criminals, and all the rest of the garbage, all in an effort to rally the rock-hard racists who make up the soul and guts of the fascist movement. Four, the Christian Fascists in the administration used Biblical commands and ideology to justify this, thereby fighting further for a theocratic standard to be the measuring point of justice. Now, faced with a huge outcry, the Trump/Pence regime has maneuvered to try to demobilize what was beginning to swell into a wave of opposition and real struggle.

That struggle must continue to grow and spread. The demonization, persecution, and inhuman treatment of immigrants is the linchpin and battering ram of this whole fascist program—it is a huge part of the ideological “glue” that holds the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the mass movement supporting it together. These attacks are NOT going away. And it WILL be ramped up, in some form or other, as soon as they can find an opening, unless and until people in their millions who DO hate the Trump/Pence regime quit believing in fairy tales of “the Blue Wave will change everything” and build a movement that drives out this regime through massive nonviolent action. Such a movement has been called for and is being actively built by Refuse Fascism, which has taken initiative to fight this latest attack and which needs to grow in the midst of this into a powerful force capable of leading the struggle to drive out this fascist regime, and this should be supported.

Pulling Back the Lens

But let’s pull the lens back on this whole situation. Trump lies about how people are coming over the border to do harm to people in this country. This is utter bullshit. But ask yourself: where did this supposedly sacred border come from? From a war against Mexico in 1846 in which the U.S. invented some pretext to STEAL half of Mexico’s land, mainly because they wanted to expand slavery, as well as developing the “market” of America from coast to coast.

Which leads to the next question: where did this “great wealth” come from that “those evil immigrants” are supposedly coming here to take? From the people who were dragged to these shores from Africa and then enslaved for hundreds of years. From the Native people who lived on this continent before the Europeans invaded the land and committed genocide against them. From earlier generations of immigrants, including many children, whose blood fed the industrialization of the U.S.

And how has that great wealth been overwhelmingly amassed since then? Through plundering and distorting the economies and societies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America—the very peoples Trump targets today.

Pull the lens back further. How many times has the U.S., that great respecter of borders, sent armies and bombs and terror and CIA agents to crush the peoples in those countries who dared to resist or rebel against the dictates of the U.S.? Since 1890, the U.S. has intervened militarily in Latin America alone 56 times—and this doesn’t include its near constant economic, political, and ideological intervention! Over a century of American imperialist domination and crimes right up to today have ravaged countries like Honduras—where the U.S. backed a 2009 military coup—El Salvador, Guatemala, and many others, and reduced them to a state where people must flee for their lives to the U.S.

This System Is a Plague On the World, A System that Must Be Overthrown

This capitalist-imperialist system is a plague on the world. No wonder that Bob Avakian [BA], the leader of the revolution and the architect of a whole new communism, has said:

If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less? (BAsics 1:31)

We need a world without borders, a world without all the exploitation and oppression of this one, which is totally needless. And to get that, we need a revolution against this capitalist-imperialist system. We need to overthrow this capitalist system and replace it with one on the road to that emancipatory future, as put forward for everyone to get into in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. This revolution has the leadership to do this in Bob Avakian and the party he leads; it has the science that BA has further developed to understand and transform reality; and it has the strategy in “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” What it needs—what it urgently requires—is YOU.

The struggles today—which, again, must not die down but must go much further—can be waged to be part of getting to this new society. As “HOW WE CAN WIN” lays out:

While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all‑out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All‑Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

Seize the time now. Be part of changing the entire world, and emancipating humanity.

Download PDF of this article and get out broadly

There is nothing sacred to us about the USA, as it is presently constituted, or about the borders of the U.S. as they are presently constituted. Quite the opposite.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:20

It is hardly conceivable that there could be a revolution in the U.S. which didn’t at some point and in various ways significantly interpenetrate with and have mutual interaction and mutual influence with revolutionary struggles being waged by the people in neighboring countries—especially in Central America.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:21

Read, print and get out all over

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/taking-ba-to-an-immigration-law-conference-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Taking the Work of Bob Avakian and The Bob Avakian Institute to an Immigration Law Conference

June 21, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A small team of volunteers with The Bob Avakian Institute went out with a multifaceted plan to make BA and his work known to thousands of immigration attorneys over the course of a three-and-a-half-day conference.

This was a gathering of lawyers in a state of emergency—looking for ways to find their footing in a rapidly changing legal system—the rules of which, many would say, were changing by the hour as the ground is being pulled out from under them. Over the course of several days, we had a big impact and became known at the conference as a whole. We distributed thousands of palm cards, posted up with banners, and sold 30 copies of the compilation from The BA Institute, Constitution, Law, and Rights – in capitalist society and in the future socialist society. Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian including excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Immigration is the spearhead and battering ram for the whole Trump/Pence regime fascist agenda. In the days leading into the conference, this was hitting home with gale wind force and with all of its ugliness laid bare. One attorney told us, when she heard that mothers were being told that their children were being taken for a bath and then never returned, “This hit me in ways that I am still trying to process. The level of utter cruelty that this is a part of…” She said she had always resented the analogy of Trump to Hitler because she had lived in Germany and thought Americans had no idea what this means. But as bad as the years under Obama were, this is something else. The first thing that came to her mind after hearing this story was the taking of people to the gas showers in Nazi Germany.

The massive attacks on immigrants and refugees are inextricably tied to the workings of the system of capitalism and imperialism. Millions and millions of people today are driven from their homelands, risking lives crossing borders in order to find a way to survive and enable their families to survive. They cannot live in their own countries because of the hell that the U.S. has created there: the theft of resources, the wars and environmental devastation, the oppressive and violent social relations. And for every country whose people are targeted in this war on immigrants, you can see the bloody footprints of a system of exploitation that spans the globe. The fascism of the Trump/Pence regime takes this to ever greater extremes. This lawyers conference was taking place in the center of this storm.

A Multi-Faceted Approach

The team of volunteers took two key works from Bob Avakian out to the conference and called on people to engage with the work of the architect of a new synthesis of communism, a whole new framework for human emancipation. We brought palm cards about the film of the talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible and the compilation mentioned above, Constitution, Law, and Rights. The compendium is an important collection of writings by Bob Avakian that brings to life, just as the title describes, an understanding of the legal system and the role it plays in reinforcing the oppressive and exploitative relations of this system, up against the kind of Constitution, law and rights in a socialist society that offer the means through which the masses of people can be brought into the radical transformation of society and themselves in the process. BA draws on the historical experience from the first stage of communist revolution, but also departs from that in significant ways, developing a new communism—thoroughly grounded in the scientific method.

We were able to get out very broadly with palm cards of the two works, and a brochure from The BA Institute explaining its mission and a brief description of who BA is and a list of his most important works—at conference sessions and parties. For a whole morning, two big banners were hung directly across from the entrance of the conference and could be seen from the lobby. One said “This System Cannot Be Reformed. It Must be Overthrown!” and the other said “We Don’t Have an Immigration Problem. We Have a Capitalism Problem.

We also spoke from the floor at some important sessions. This included getting up on a chair at the end of one of the largest gatherings of about 2,000 lawyers. The volunteer led a call and response to refuse to accept a fascist America and invited people to talk to us about BA’s work on the roots and dynamics of American fascism, and how we can make an actual revolution. At another session, Tom Steyer, a major Democratic Party donor who has been calling for impeachment, spoke out about the Democrat’s betrayal of the DACA students, and the internment camps for children. He argued for a new social contract within the existing system. His talk was filled with patriotism and how America, if it went back to its founding principles in the Declaration of Independence, could be good again. In the Q&A, the Institute volunteer argued from the floor for the need to step outside of the channels of normal politics that has brought us here and to drive out the fascist regime. More than that, that we have to understand that what is going on is an expression of a system which is not basically good but which was founded on slavery and genocide which still profoundly shape what we are now dealing with. He argued that we need a real revolution to overthrow this system and replace it with a far better system. He talked about The Bob Avakian Institute and BA who has developed a new approach to revolution and communism. Steyer said he agreed with a lot of what was said – including particularly the need to talk about the dark side of U.S. history, and spoke of recently visiting the new museum on lynching, while still upholding his framework of American democracy.

What We Almost Squandered—the Compendium

There was a major weakness during that first day and a half at the conference, which ran counter to making the kind of breakthroughs needed to bring the actual revolutionary content of BA’s work to this conference. At that point, only three copies of the compilation on Constitution, Law & Rights had been sold. Its content is at the heart of what people needed to understand and could have a special impact on those working in this realm—and it was being squandered.

Mid-stream, some of us stepped back and discussed this. And pretty drastically, changed our approach. We talked specifically about the importance of getting BA’s work right into people’s hands and having that direct engagement with BA’s work.

After that, 7 copies of the book were sold at a party that evening. The following day we decided that we would set up book tables. By the end of the day, we sold 16 copies: with a book table on the sidewalk, setting up a small stand inside the lobby and also going to people sitting in the lobby lounge. On the last day, we sold 3 at a short meeting with an attorney who wanted to learn more about us before he left. He bought the book as did two others, a friend who stopped by and ended up joining the conversation and another attorney who was just sitting next to us and wanted to know more.

People would read the introduction, the description of the author and go through the table of contents. Reading the titles of the chapters provoked people’s thinking, and they would comment on what they thought was important. There were a number of people who began to talk about the actual history of this country, what it meant that there was slavery or the theft of the land and the genocide of Native Americans. There were comments about the fact that there really is no “right to eat” under this system, how the laws play a crucial role in the maintenance of an economic system. And when we also talked about fascism—it was in this context of how this served the underlying needs of a system. The book itself also speaks to a number of important questions that came up repeatedly: whether a revolution is actually necessary and the nature of the state under this system. People were very interested in how all of this would be different in a society that was aimed at uprooting all of the relations of exploitation and oppression.

An Imperialism Problem

One other experience we had at the conference came off of our attempt to project the slide show now online at revcom.us—on Imperialism and Internationalism. This is a set of powerful quotes by BA from BAsics. Our projections did not work well outside of a party the first night but we knew that they would have had a big impact on these attorneys. We saw some of this from the response we got when we put on cloth patches with the slogan— “We Don’t Have an Immigration Problem—We Have an Imperialism Problem,” which drew a lot of attention and support—people stopping to talk or wanting to take a picture. In a number of cases, attorneys would talk about how they learned about the histories of the countries where their clients came from and the bloody role of the U.S. in creating the situations that they were escaping—Guatemala, El Salvador, Somalia, Syria, and Palestine. One attorney from Rwanda was agonizing about why things have gone so badly in Africa. He said that imperialism underlies all the civil wars in Africa. In addition to getting the legal compilation, he said he would get BA’s book The New Communism online.

Off these discussions, we asked people to seriously commit to watching the film, or reading the book they got, and to support the work of The Bob Avakian Institute. A number of people from across the country made a commitment to get back to us with their thoughts and ideas.

In sum, we went to a conference where perhaps a handful of people had ever heard of Bob Avakian before and in a matter of days, through a dynamic and multi-layered approach, this changed. We went into a situation where most of the people were not thinking outside of the confines of their work and were very much tied to the system’s processes in the electoral realm. What we found were many, many people who have the gut feeling that something is fundamentally wrong and were open to hearing about a leader who has scientifically gone at the central problem of this system of capitalism/imperialism and developed a new communism that has paved the way for a whole new wave of emancipating revolution.

A number of people commented that this is not something that they have ever talked about before and they were surprised and appreciative. Others said that they were interested in the decades of work that BA has done in summing up the first wave of communist revolution and what it meant to put communism on a thoroughly scientific basis.

What we also found was that our starting point must be the totally revolutionary leadership of Bob Avakian when we step to people, and getting that directly in people’s hands. It makes all the difference in the world.

the Bob Avakian Institute

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.

To donate online, go to: thebobavakianinstitute.org

Checks/money orders can be mailed to:
The Bob Avakian Institute (or The BA Institute), 1016 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago IL 60607

Constitution, Law, and Rights – in capitalist society and in the future socialist society

This compilation brings a truly unique perspective to a subject that is of critical importance for all those concerned with social justice: constitution, law, and rights.

Read more about this compilation here

View, read or print PDF here

Official Biography of Bob Avakian

American Crime

Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

See all the articles in this series.

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/revolution-club-LA-standing-on-the-american-rag-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Revolution Club Los Angeles:

Standing on the American Rag: Creating a Scene, Enlisting Forces in the Revolution

June 22, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From members of Revolution Club LA:

The Revolution Club went out the day that Trump signed his fascist executive order to “stop separating families” by detaining whole families together at the border and talking about how new prisons would have to be built to house entire families.

We went out on the trains carrying out only two of the “Five Stops,” jumping from car to car agitating around the need to overthrow a system that heartlessly separates children in that way and called on people to join the movement for revolution. We weren’t just planning to be on the trains however, so we got off in two very different neighborhoods, one was a predominantly Black neighborhood and the other is a neighborhood known to be heavily populated by immigrants from Central America.

When we got here, we started to agitate to the crowd in both English and Spanish while some pigs were nearby where people exit the trains. We wanted to do more than just agitate on the bullhorn, we wanted to create more of a scene so we pulled out the Amerikkkan rag and stood on it.  

We drew from the agitation of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! where BA speaks of the terror of deportations and one of Sunsara Taylor’s latest posts on social media and how a system that continues to rip away children from their parents that way is a system that has to be overthrown and replaced. We talked about the strategy for this revolution concentrated in “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” (HWCW) and that we have the leadership for this revolution in Bob Avakian who has written the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.  

The pigs came over almost immediately after we began stepping on the flag, trying to get us to stop. We pointed out to the crowd that these pigs were set off by us stepping on this flag because they go hand in hand with what this system represents and they deserve no more respect than this rag that we were stepping on. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by pigs and a pig helicopter overhead. 

The response from the crowd was contradictory, there was the occasional backward fool yelling from their car, calling on the police to arrest us, or yelling that bullshit tired old line about “love it or leave it,” to which we responded that what this rag represents needs to be hated and overthrown and went further into what this country has done and continues to do and if you want to defend this rag then you have to be okay with all the horrors this country has committed from the time it was founded on slavery to throwing children in cages right now at the southern border. 

Someone pleaded with us to cooperate with the cops and just move—this wasn’t coming from a reactionary place and it seemed that other people were also genuinely concerned and wanted to avoid further antagonizing the police. We kept on the bullhorn telling people that too many people still think these pigs are the good guys even as pig after pig is continually caught on video after video murdering someone and not one of these pigs comes forward to call it murder. We went into BAsics 1:24 and what that means right now that there are fascists in power carrying out the crime of ethnic cleansing and snatching children away to throw them in a cage but those muthafuckers aren’t getting arrested. 

As more and more pigs kept showing up, more and more people got closer and brought out their cell phones to film. People were cheering and cursing the pigs, some were really in a fighting mood. The pigs surrounded us and kept people from getting closer. We agitated on the “encirclement” point from HWCW and directed people to the website, revcom.us

We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

We had been hearing the pigs talking and weighing whether to arrest us or not, one oinking about arresting us for stepping on the flag, but the sergeant said that if they arrest us all the people will see and that is what we (the Revolution Club) want.  

They backed off and left and we told people why the pigs decided to leave and how this could’ve turned out differently if people there would’ve just continued to walk by. We told people that what these repressive forces fear most is them getting with this movement for an actual revolution to overthrow the system that they are there to serve and protect and how too many of us don’t know what we can do if we lose our fear of going up against these pigs. People were excited, cursing the pigs in Spanish as they rolled away. The person who initially wanted us to cooperate with the pigs came over to stand on the flag and pass out copies of HWCW. He stood with us for a while, then went out among the people to reach those who weren’t walking by to where we were standing on the flag. Before he left he handed us his number and suggested ways that he could contribute to the revolution.

One person told us how he was getting out of work and saw the helicopter flying in the same direction as patrol cars that were zooming by and figured that they were responding to a shooting or something of that nature but then all he sees is us standing on the flag and agitating on the bullhorn. He went around the corner and parked his car and came over. He called us later that night to tell us how inspired he was at seeing people standing up and wanting to know how he can get involved. He raised that people are scared to stand up right now because they are undocumented but that it was necessary to fight back. We had posed to him earlier that we needed to be on a mission to spread what is in HWCW and getting in the streets now around what’s happening in order to push things toward a revolutionary situation, otherwise the trajectory society is on will only get worse and worse. So he said that he had already begun spreading this by posting a picture of the scene on social media, that he had people in mind to give a few pamphlets of HWCW in the following days and wanted us to come over for dinner so we could talk to other people in a few days.

Another person wanted to get into a lofty abstract conversation about libertarianism in the midst of the police repression, but one of us was letting the HWCW pamphlet set the terms by reading to him out loud what we’re here to do from part one and part two, especially the paragraph in part two that everything we’re doing now is aiming for something very definite: a revolutionary situation. By the end of it he was asking how to get with us and when to come by our organizing center, and asking where to get a copy of the Constitution, taking a stack of HWCW and making an appointment to come to the center next week.

We’ve been wrangling with how to break through and measuring our approach against HWCW and what’s been up on revcom.us, in particular the recent piece “A Step Forward in Harlem.” When we were out there, we did better at organizing people on the spot and getting back to them right away in order to go further but we were summing up that we had to think more on our feet as things unfold. Someone was saying that we needed to call on people to come stand on the flag with us as we were being surrounded by pigs and make the case of how that is one concrete way to come into this and transform the situation closer to one where we can make a revolution. We were also thinking that we could’ve done better at harvesting right after the pigs left. There had to be more of a call and orientation coming from the bullhorn where we called on masses to come up and get organized rather than the few people who came up to talk to us.

However, there was a sense that we were really on a mission, even being on the trains with the urgency and seriousness while disrupting business as usual and spreading the word, with many people asking if we were protesting the separation of families and taking pictures of the “Stops.” Even posting up when the pigs were threatening to arrest us and not backing down presented us as a material force for revolution. Overall, we think that key to unleashing this process will be really wielding HWCW as a working document and making real to people how taking this up is part of how we’re going to get to a revolutionary situation and be able to really have a chance to go for a real revolution.

 

Revolution Club LA outside a busy transit stop getting the message out about the movement for an actual revolution amidst attempted police repression. Photo: @Connor_atw.

Read, print and get out all over

From the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution:

While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/police-murder-antwon-rose-jr-hundreds-into-streets-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

East Pittsburgh: Police Murder Antwon Rose Jr.—Hundreds Go Into the Streets in Outrage

Updated June 28, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update June 28: The pig who murdered Antwon Rose was charged with criminal homicide on Wednesday, June 27. Criminal homicide is a broad category, and the prosecutors could pursue the case as murder or manslaughter. A judge or jury could find the killer cop, Michael Rosfeld, not guilty or convict him of a manslaughter charge, which would be a slap on the wrist. The judge gave Rosfeld “unsecured” bail, and he was released within hours. The only reason Rosfeld was even indicted—unlike most killer cops who don’t even get charged—was because of the determined struggle of the people to not let Antwon’s murder be swept under the rug.

On Sunday, June 24, Antwon’s mother said on Good Morning America that Rosfeld “murdered my son in cold blood” and told people to “keep fighting” for justice for Antwon. The next day, Antwon’s family, schoolmates, and friends gathered at the auditorium of his school for an emotional funeral. On Tuesday, June 26, one week after Antwon's murder, a hundred protesters, mainly youth, resumed their righteous actions in the streets, this time marching to the downtown area and disrupting traffic all along the way.

~~~~~~~~~~

As of Sunday, June 24, people have taken to the streets of East Pittsburgh for four straight days and nights following the murder of Antwon Rose Jr., an unarmed 17-year-old Black teenager, shot three times in the back in cold blood by a pig on Tuesday, June 19.

Friday evening, protesters gathered in several different locations across the city. They blocked a bridge downtown for an hour at rush hour. Then protesters marched across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh toward the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, where a game was still in progress. Protesters flooded the streets as the Pirates game let out, creating a gridlock for both cars and pedestrians. At one point during a rally, people gathered to form a large circle, and all of the 17-year-olds there stood in the center.

Saturday was the start of Pittsburgh’s annual Juneteenth weekend parade and festival.1 This year the kickoff march was joined, and magnified, with the outrage at the murder of Antwon. More than 200 people showed up in the rain for the march. Antwon Rose’s young cousin, who carried a photo of Antwon, took the mic and said to the cops, “Stop killing us.” At the end Antwon’s great aunt told everyone to not just go home and say “I’ve done my part,” and that the protest “has to continue.”

Saturday evening the protests continued, with people mobilizing and marching in the streets at 9 pm, this time with Leon Ford taking the lead. Ford was paralyzed by Pittsburgh pigs in 2012 who “mistook him for another man.” Many protesters carried signs, which became a major chant, saying: “3 shots in the back. How do you justify that?” About 10:30 pm, cops came out in riot gear and blocked protesters from continuing down the street. The crowd marched right up to them, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” then split off and continued on the sidewalks, continuing for another hour or more.

Earlier in the week on Wednesday over 100 people protested in front of police headquarters, with some pushing back against and lying down in front of a police car to stop it. On Thursday afternoon 1,000 people came together for a rally at the county courthouse. That evening people marched through the streets, eventually going onto Interstate 376. For over two hours they blocked traffic in both directions. At 2 am pigs in riot gear began moving on the protesters who’d refused to leave. At least one woman was arrested.

 The murder, partly captured on video, shows the killer cop firing three shots into Antwon’s back just seconds after he and another passenger began to run from the car during a traffic stop. On the video, you can hear the woman recording it shout, “Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!” Antwon had no weapon on him.

Antwon’s friends, family, and teachers are reeling from Antwon’s murder. A woman who operated an organization that distributes donated goods to people in need told the Washington Post that she got an email in 2015 from Antwon asking if he could volunteer for her organization. She thought it remarkable that a 14-year-old would do this. She said of Antwon, “He was friendly, easy to work with, smart, vibrant. He was a caring person, and everyone loved him.”

A poem Antwon wrote at school last year when he was a 10th grader is titled “I Am Not What You Think!” and says in part, “I see mothers bury their sons/I want my mom to never feel that pain/I am confused and afraid.”

Tamir Rice … Trayvon Martin … Eric Garner … Sandra Bland … Stephon Clark … Maurice Granton Jr. … now Antwon Rose Jr.  These and thousands of other equally outrageous executions are part of an epidemic of wanton police murder and terror against Black, Brown, and Native American people—especially the youth—to enforce the oppression and white supremacy this whole putrid system is based on.

The protests in East Pittsburgh are righteous. They need to continue and be joined around the country by everyone who sees that what this system does to Black people and all oppressed is completely intolerable and unacceptable. And people need to join the movement for a real revolution to end this and all the horrors this system brings down.

STOP! Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!


1. Juneteenth Day is a holiday commemorating June 18 and 19, 1865, when Union troops seized Galveston, Texas, and declared the emancipation of slaves throughout the state.  [back]

Share on social media

Antwon Rose, Jr.

June 22, protesters marched across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh toward the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, where a game was still in progress. Photo: AP

June 23, Saturday evening the protests continued, with people mobilizing and marching in the streets. Photo: Andrew Stein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/548/Bob-Avakian-the-basics-palm-cards-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Get These BAsics Palmcards Out Everywhere

June 22, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These BAsics quotes are very relevant to the situation right now. Print up these palmcards and get them out widely.

These palmcards are downloadable as printable PDFs and shareable JPEGs. The first image below is a common back for printed palmcards.

Download each by right-clicking on "PDF" or "JPEG" below the image you want, and choosing "Save Link As..."

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

Download the  PDF  |  JPEG

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/501/rcp-statement-why-we-have-taken-up-fight-to-build-refuse-fascism-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Why We Have Taken Up the Fight to Build Refuse Fascism and to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime

A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

July 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People have asked: What is the relationship between the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Refuse Fascism? Here is our answer.

All over the world billions of people suffer horribly and needlessly because of the system that prevails around the globe. A radically different and better future is possible. The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA is dedicated to the emancipation of all of humanity from every form of exploitation and oppression all over the world. This requires an actual revolution, and we work every day to popularize and lead masses of people to carry out the strategy to make this revolution at the soonest possible time.

After the election of Donald Trump, we confronted the reality that the Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime. We recognized the horrors that this would mean to people living in this country, to humanity as a whole, and to the planet if this regime were allowed to consolidate their full fascist program. We have analyzed in “Some Points on Strategic Orientation for the Next Period” that while fascism is not a different system from what exists in the U.S. today, it is a qualitative change in the way in which the capitalist-imperialist system is governed and in the civil norms of society. Fascism essentially eliminates what have been traditional democratic rights. Indeed, the Trump/Pence regime is moving quickly to bludgeon and eliminate whole groups of people, as well as the people’s ability to stand up and fight for a better world.

If the Trump/Pence regime is able to fully consolidate its rule and program, this will exponentially increase the terror, brutality, and devastation suffered by people all over the world, put the planet itself in greater peril, and will dramatically curtail the ability of the people to fight for a better world, whether through revolution or through other means.

Recognizing this qualitative danger, as well as the way that this dramatic change has jolted millions into political life, we took responsibility to propose to a diverse group of people that we must do everything we can to stop this regime and the imposition of fascism. Together we recognized that we needed to form an organization to unite all who could be united to take up the fight to drive this regime from power through mass, determined resistance from below. A Call to Action was issued under the slogan: “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!” and an organization, Refuse Fascism, was formed with the single unifying mission to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime! Our Party is committed to fulfilling our responsibility to contribute as much as we can to the mission of Refuse Fascism precisely because of the tremendous stakes for the future.

While working within Refuse Fascism and respecting the principles of its Call to Action, we welcome and carry out principled discussion and struggle over the root of the problems humanity faces and their solution. As said nearly 170 years ago in the Communist Manifesto, genuine communists “disdain to conceal [our] views and aims.” Instead, we openly and boldly put them forward, just as we expect that others should and will put forward their views. This enables everyone to learn as deeply as possible about what we are actually facing, to unite as firmly as possible around key and shared objectives, and to respect and learn from our differences.

For this reason, we urge everyone to dig into the work that our Party, and in particular the leader of the Party, Bob Avakian, has done over decades to provide clarity and direction in understanding and acting on what is actually going on with the ascension of the Trump/Pence regime and what this arose out of, the stakes of this for humanity, and why it must be driven out through massive political mobilization (getting and staying in the streets until this regime is gone). In particular, we recommend two important works from Bob Avakian that dig into this: “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats are No Answer,” written in 1998; and, “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It,” written in 2005.

And, every day the RCP provides articles, exposures, analyses, and polemics about developments in the world which provide guidance for the fight to drive out this regime, as well as the fight to make an emancipatory revolution, at www.revcom.us.

We invite all who yearn for a radically different and better world to get into the work of Bob Avakian, who has developed a new synthesis of communism—a qualitatively more scientific method and approach to knowing and changing the world. Key books to start with are: 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, by Ardea Skybreak; and, by Bob Avakian, these three works: THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation; the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America; and BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. And there are two films that bring it all together: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN.

We encourage everyone to dig into this work and to share with us your reflections, questions, and/or critique in the spirit of deepening understanding of the problem and solution to the immediate battle to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime and of the great struggle to overcome all forms of oppression and exploitation. We welcome this engagement while working and fighting together to oust this fascist regime, not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.

There are those, however, including some clergy, who say they are opposed to the Trump/Pence regime yet have refused to unite with Refuse Fascism because of the involvement of the communists of the RCP. These people would do well to heed the famous statement of Pastor Martin Niemöller. Niemöller summed up the terrible mistakes he made in standing aside from and doing nothing to oppose the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s rounding up one group after another—beginning with the communists—and the horrific consequences of allowing the Nazis to implement this “divide and conquer” approach. He said, “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

The point of this statement is precisely to learn from the awful error Niemöller made and not repeat the kind of “distancing” he fell into which does great harm and has contributed to real disaster.

In contrast to that negative lesson which was paid for in the blood of many millions, let us unite firmly from our diverse perspectives to contribute all we can to filling the great need that faces humanity: driving a fascist regime out of power in the most powerful military power that has ever existed. Let us struggle with and learn from each other as we stand shoulder to shoulder together to make good on our shared commitment that: In the Name of Humanity—We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/protests-across-country-denounce-cruel-separation-of-immigrant-children-from-parents-en.html

Revolution #548 June 18, 2018

Protests Across the Country Denounce the Cruel Separation of Immigrant Children from Parents

Updated June 27, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From “The Ripping Away of Children From Their Parents Is a Crime Against Humanity and Must Stop NOW!”: “The outrage against this crime must continue. That outrage must be transformed into actions against this that grow in mass and force until this does STOP. And these actions must be built into a movement to drive this fascist—yes, fascist, face it for what it really is—regime from power.”

Check back at revcom.us for continuing news on the protests.

From large metropolitan areas to smaller cities and towns, people are taking to the streets in righteous outrage and protest against the Trump/Pence regime’s vicious, inhuman policy of tearing immigrant children from their parents.

Below are updates by date.

Wednesday, June 27

See more

On Wednesday, June 27, anger continued to boil over the torture of migrant children and the threats to lock whole families up in concentration camps, as well as the Supreme Court decision to uphold Trump’s bigoted, xenophobic Muslim Travel Ban. 

Occupy ICE protests that began in Portland, Oregon on June 17, have continued to spread in other cities around the country, including today at the ICE headquarters in Washington, DC. Organizers of the Women’s March have called for non-violent civil disobedience in DC on June 28 against family detentions. At the Northwest Detention Center outside of Tacoma, Washington, protesters are reporting that police have outrageously attacked this non-violent occupation and “noise rally” and are attempting to disperse it.

In Seattle, people gathered at Central College Plaza where RefuseFascism.org activists demanded “NO Muslim Ban, NO Concentration Camps—Refuse a Fascist America!” In Baltimore, people went to city hall to stand with Muslims and immigrants and demand: #NoMuslimBanEver.

See less

Tuesday, June 26

See more

Tuesday, June 26: In Los Angeles, ahead of a speech by Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions, members of the clergy blocked the street in front of the U.S. Attorney’s office. They were arrested, handcuffed, and taken away by the police. Later, outside the hotel where Sessions was to give his speech, Associated Press reported that “As the attorney general's motorcade arrived, the crowd chanted, ‘Nazi, go home.’”

In Portland, the occupation of the ICE facilities there continued, with the ICE office still shut down—as continuous protests at ICE facilities in other cities across the country were inspired by the Portland action. The protestors in Portland have removed the U.S. flag from the front of the ICE building and replaced it with a banner saying “Refugees Welcome.” Meanwhile, federal agents gave protestors fliers threatening “arrest and prosecution in federal court” if they continued their blockade.

A profusion of protests has developed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today 1,000 people held a 12-hour protest at the Richmond Detention Center, and a call for 24-hour protests starting June 30 was announced. Protests were held in San Jose, San Francisco, and Concord. At 9 pm a protest and light projection was held at the San Francisco Federal Building against the Supreme Court decision on the Muslim ban.

Clergy in Los Angeles blocked street ahead of Jeff Sessions speech. Photo: Twitter/@cgrey307

 

Light Projection June 26 at San Francisco Federal Building. Photo: special to revcom.us

Light Projection June 26 at San Francisco Federal Building. Photo: special to revcom.us

See less

Sunday, June 24

See more

Sunday, June 24: Several hundred people demonstrated in Tornillo, Texas, the site of a U.S.-Mexico border checkpoint and a temporary shelter for children who came across the border with no adult or have been taken away from their parents. People chanted, “Free the children now!” Some people drove many miles to attend; some came by plane from places like Milwaukee and Los Angeles. In the crowd were some well-known people, including director/producer Rob Reiner; actors Mira Sorvino, Lena Dunham, and Amber Heard; singer Sia; and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta. Heard posted an Instagram photo of herself holding a sign that says: “Apartheid was legal. Holocaust was legal. Legality is a matter of power, not justice.”

A hunger strike that started the day before continued near a federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas. Organizers plan to carry out the hunger strike for 24 days—to represent the roughly 2,400 children who have been ripped away from their families at the border. People will fast for 24 hours and then hand off to another protester. Celebrities participating include LeVar Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen.

More than 300 gathered near a Republican representative’s office in Glen Allen, Virginia, to protest the government’s treatment of immigrants. In Detroit, Michigan, protesters began occupying an ICE office and plan to stay 24 hours a day until June 30, the day of nationwide protests against Trump’s war on immigrants. In the second straight day of protests in Verona, Virginia, 250 gathered for a “Stop Torturing Children Rally” outside the center where immigrant children are being held. One protester said he didn’t learn about the rounding up and imprisoning of Japanese Americans until he was out of high school, and, “They’re building internment camps right now. I’m horrified.”

Photo posted on Instagram by Lena Dunham from protest at Tornillo, Texas, June 23. credit: @lenadunham

See less

Saturday, June 23

See more

Saturday, June 23: Thousands of people were out in the streets from New York City to San Diego, including “Occupy ICE” actions at ICE facilities inspired by the protesters in Portland, Oregon, whose protests forced a temporary closure of their facility.

In McAllen, Texas, a couple of miles from the border, a rally was going on outside the ICE detention center when a bus transporting immigrants tried to leave. Protesters got in front of the bus to prevent it from moving, formed a human chain and started chanting “Set the children free!”

“Occupy ICE” protesters began camping outside of an ICE office in Manhattan, NYC, to block the loading dock where vans bring immigrants in and out of the building. In downtown Los Angeles, more than 60 people camped overnight in tents outside the Metropolitan Detention Center, and shined lights into the building to let the immigrants detained inside know about the protest. Earlier protesters had tried to block the loading dock area before being pushed back by police.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, at least 300 people protested outside a casino where Trump was attending a fundraiser for a Republican senator and speaking at the Nevada GOP convention. Protesters set up animal kennel cages on the sidewalk—symbolizing the cages immigrant children are being held in. Hundreds rallied near a Homestead, Florida, facility where immigrant children are being held. Protesters chanted, “No baby jails!” in Fort Worth, Texas, where the state Democratic Party convention was going on.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, protesters confronted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater, questioning her support of Trump’s immigration policies. This was at least the third time recently protesters confronted Republican officials in public places—including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. About 200 protested in Champaign, Illinois, at a hotel where ICE agents were reportedly staying.

In San Diego, thousands protested outside the Otay Mesa Detention center, waving signs that said, “Abolish ICE,” “Keep families together,” and “Free the kids.” In Chicago a crowd of about 600 people, including many families, marched and rallied protesting Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies. The police began attacking members of the Revolution Club Chicago, who were part of the march, but in the face of opposition from people in the community, the cops backed away (see “At Chicago "March for Families" Against Attacks on Immigrants Revolution Club Attacked AGAIN by Chicago Police”).

Chicago

 

See less

Friday, June 22

See more

Friday, June 22: In Houston, several hundred people protested outside an immigration center which was being prepared to hold children, demanding it be shut down before children are brought there. Members of Refuse Fascism were there, targeting the Trump/Pence regime as a fascist regime that needs to be driven out through nonviolent mass political protest. In Baltimore, Maryland, CASA de Maryland organized dozens of protesters outside the Ordnance Road Detention Center where immigrants are being held. In downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, people lay down in the street, blocking traffic. Among them were DACA immigrants. Six people were arrested for obstructing traffic.

Houston, TX

See less

Thursday, June 21

See more

Thursday, June 21: In Washington, DC, in a protest organized by an interfaith group fighting for the rights of undocumented immigrants, dozens of children wrapped in Mylar blankets—like the ones issued to immigrant children in concentration-camp detention centers—laid down on the floor of Capitol Hill. The protesters demanded an end to the Trump/Pence regime’s “zero tolerance” policy targeting all people crossing the southern border without documents, including those applying for political asylum, with arrests.

In Portland, Oregon, officials announced they were shutting down the ICE facility temporarily because of the “Occupy ICE” protests that began earlier in the week and have continued 24/7. There were protests at other ICE offices and facilities across the country, including Refuse Fascism activists and others blocking the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, and 300 people at the Louisville, Kentucky, office.

In New York City, hundreds of people called out by different Jewish groups and synagogues protested at Federal Plaza, and a silent vigil was held outside a detention center in Harlem where kids taken away from their parents are being held.

A couple in California who has started a campaign on Facebook, aiming to raise $1,500 to help toward legal expenses for immigrant families who are being torn apart, said that as of Thursday evening over $17 million in donations have poured in since last Saturday.

 

Portland, Oregon, June 20, where people have surrounded the ICE office for two days. On June 21 officials announced they were temporarily shutting the ICE facility due to "Occupy ICE" protests.

June 20, evening, protesters meet children transported to La Guardia Airport in NYC after being separated from parents.

 

June 21, protesters blocking door of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Twitter/@kylegrillot

Washington, DC June 21

See less

Wednesday, June 20

See more

On Wednesday, June 20, protests against the Trump/Pence regime’s vicious policy of separating children from their parents continued across the country, from Bangor, Maine where 150 people demonstrated at a Republican Congressman’s office, with one woman holding a sign “Evil Hitler Separated Families.  America?”, to Phoenix, Arizona, where immigrants’ rights advocates squared off against pro-Trump bigots.  In Chicago, dozens marched in Refuse Fascism’s “El Silencio es Complicidad #FamiliesBelongTogether” protest in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Another RefuseFascism.org protest—Stop Ripping Kids Away From Parents—took place in Honolulu at the Federal Building.  

There were protests in Providence, Rhode Island, Baltimore, Maryland and Raleigh, North Carolina.  Thirty people gathered in Westborough, Massachusetts.  In Portland, Oregon, people maintained their weekly vigil outside an ICE office.  In New York City, a coalition of groups organized a World Refugee Day rally and march to “Stop the Refugee Ban, Save Asylum and Defend Temporary Protected Status (TPS).”  In Grand Rapids, Michigan, people protested Bethany Christian Services for accepting children snatched from their parents with signs reading "No profit for kidnappers," and "End the contract.”

As we write this, protesters have gathered at La Guardia Airport in New York Tuesday night to meet children being flown to the area.  As the facilities are being identified—in Harlem, Long Island, New Jersey, people have gathered in front of them to protest.

Significantly a number of the protests went ahead after Trump announced his new Executive Order (see further analysis of the Executive Order) and new protests against the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist assault on immigrants and refugees have been announced.   One person in Duluth, Minnesota tweeted they were so outraged they were organizing a protest themself against Trump, who’s speaking there tonight.

In another significant development, over 100 Microsoft employees posted an open letter demanding the company “put children and families above profits,” and end its work with ICE.  “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit.”  At other Silicon Valley tech firms employees have also been circulating emails and supporting protests against Trump’s assaults on immigrant families. 

Chicago, June 20

Rhode Island, June 20, at steps of Rhode Island statehouse

See less

June 14 through June 19

See more

On Tuesday, June 19, Refuse Fascism organized protests in several cities around the country: at Union Square in New York City; in Philadelphia—where Pence was at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association and a march to the ICE office in San Francisco.

In New York City, people marched from Union Square to the Manhattan immigrant detention center. In the protest outside the San Francisco ICE headquarters, several hundred people, including immigrants, activist, and tech workers, blocked a section of the street at one point. People chanted, “Stop taking the children.” An immigrant addressed the crowd, saying, “We are the people who wash your dishes, wash the underwear and give the food to the children.... We are not criminals. Trump is the criminal. We are all human beings.”

In El Paso, several hundred protesters from New Mexico and Texas marched to the ICE processing center. At one point people went into the street and blocked traffic. Several religious forces spoke at the rally, including Black clergy and Muslims. One minister told the crowd, “We are morally outraged because a nursing child has been ripped from the arms of her mother, we are morally outraged because a father whose child was torn from his arms committed suicide in prison.” Members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Texas talked about the physical and mental suffering being inflicted on these children.

Protesters gathered in Palmdale, in southern California, outside the office of a Republican congressman to oppose the ripping away of children. About 80 people, including DACA immigrants and their families, gathered to set off on a caravan to other Republican politicians’ offices to denounce the family separations.

On Monday, June 18, protesters left shoes outside the ICE detention center in downtown Los Angeles to symbolize the children being snatched away and terrorized by the government. In New Orleans, dozens demonstrated outside of the Convention Center where Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions was speaking. About 100 protesters rallied in New York City, organized by the Asian American Federation of New York, against the ICE arrest of a Chinese immigrant who had been in the U.S. for 20 years, during a green card interview.

There were #FamiliesBelongTogether rallies in dozens of cities last Thursday night, June 14. In Los Angeles, hundreds marched from MacArthur Park to the immigrant detention center downtown. Many of the marchers were people who are undocumented themselves. And many were teachers who have seen firsthand how ICE raids and deportations have split apart children and their parents.

 

"At the detention center in downtown LA where immigrants are being detained. We waved our phones at them, and they waved what looked like reading lights back at us and flipped the lights on and off in their rooms." @MalteseAnna

Los Angeles, California

On the other side of the country, in Philadelphia, hundreds gathered at the ICE office, and Refuse Fascism activists led a reading of the pledge to refuse to accept a fascist America.

Yellow bracelets worn by marchers in many places

Yellow bracelets worn by marchers in many places

In Huntington Village, New York, dozens gathered wearing yellow bracelets to show solidarity with immigrants. Immigrants being prosecuted and put in prison camps by the government for crossing the border are reportedly being made to wear yellow bracelets—reminiscent of the way Hitler’s Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear yellow stars, political prisoners to wear red triangles, and homosexuals to wear pink triangles. About 80 people gathered in Greenville, South Carolina, for “A Vigil for Families Torn Apart,” where one participant said, “We want to bring attention to how quickly we’re moving away from just basic values of human rights and decency.”

On Friday, when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to speak in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on “law enforcement and immigration,” Refuse Fascism and some 150 others greeted this point man for the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist attacks on immigrants with shouts of “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!” and “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!”

Over the weekend, protests took place in several cities in Texas, the state where thousands of children are imprisoned. A Father’s Day march began in El Paso and ended in Tornillo, where several hundred protesters spoke out about the tent city where immigrant children are being detained. There were also protests on Sunday, June 17, in the state’s capital, Austin. In McAllen, hundreds demonstrated outside the “tent camp,” i.e., open-air concentration camp, that was just set up to house immigrant children who have been ripped away from their parents.


McAllen, Texas

Some 200 held a Father’s Day protest at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey, the largest immigration center in the New York/New Jersey area, where many immigrants are detained for extended periods under horrendous conditions.

Tuscon, Arizona


Norwalk, Ohio


San Jose, California


Orlando, Florida


Elizabeth, New Jersey

Philadelphia, June 19, where Pence was at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association

New York


Austin, TX

Brooklyn, New York. Credit: YouTube/Sandi Bachom


San Francisco, California


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

See less


Get a free email subscription to revcom.us: