Revolution #183, November 15, 2009
Some Thoughts on "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"
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Revolutionary greetings! I just received issue number 170 and so I wanted to express some of my thoughts of this issue, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have."
First what was powerful was when I opened up the paper and seen the vivid uncut portrayals in the pictures of America's dirty work. To see the collage of horror all together was a powerful message. And I could relate to many of the pictures, the picture of the police smashing a Black youth's back with his knee. I have been in that exact position more than once, out in society and here in American gulags. In the barrios or ghetto projects, police brutality is a fact of life and begins as a right of passage to youth of color, police brutality is used as a mechanism of control to the potentially rebellious youth of color and it is taught at an early age, it becomes an unwritten rule that the lumpen know all too well, like the rule that if you run from the police if caught you will get beat.
The picture of the Iraqis being rounded up and arrested by blatant military force is a perfect example of a "police state," we experience the same thing here in the U.S. However instead of outright military uniform, the captors dress in police uniform, but most have witnessed groups of youth being thrown against the wall or told to sit on curbs while police rummage through their belongings or gather intelligence on them to put on "field cards" for later harassment. These are the constant harassments that you see on TV/Internet going on in Iraq with U.S. military "patrolling" and engaged in a harassment offensive. This is what Latinos and Blacks go through in their neighborhoods! The only difference is the uniform the oppressor wears. Latinos and Blacks get their doors kicked down and their house "cleared" just as in Iraq, Latinos and Blacks get sprayed with bullets, shot dead by the same security forces, with the same excuses—"he was reaching for his waistband."
The picture of the L.A. Rebellion always puts a smile on my face, pride for the people rising up on that day. When the '92 riots kicked off over the Rodney King verdicts I was in California's "C.Y.A." (reformatory school) and I remember when the riots began the guards put us on lockdown with no movement in the whole institution for fear of all of us rebellious youth at that time raising shit to our captors. I was already in the hole at this time for other mischief but I remember being in this dungeon and talking about the riots in L.A. As we had heard about it and even though at that time none of us had studied revolutionary struggles or theory, we didn't know the root cause of why the ruling class cast us off—we didn't even know what the ruling class was! But we did know we were happy and excited, we knew instinctively that what was taking place in L.A. was not only right it was a beautiful thing and we wanted in! I always look back to that situation and it solidifies the position that should a revolution reach these shores the millions of youth such as we were in that dungeon would rush to partake in the struggle, even without being fully immersed in political science they would instinctively know that the people were correct.
But getting to the main article of issue 170, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"... well first of all, being not only held in one of America's gulags, but also held in the California supermax known as Pelican Bay. I really appreciate all the literature I am able to receive particularly from PRLF as I have used this time in the dungeon to really develop my revolutionary line and see the U.S. for what it really is and identify all the horror that's wrapped up within the inner workings of this capitalist system that is basically machinery of death. But this article sounded much like a conversation I had with one of the people here in which we were just discussing this whole sham of land of the free! And having cookouts on July 4th and all that Americana mumbo jumbo but in reality there is not a damn thing to celebrate about this racist country or its genocidal birth! The so called "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo" that called for the theft of half of Mexican land, as well as all Native land they call America validates this country not as "land of the free," rather the land of the thieves! Not to mention the slavery instituted to create an economy on this stolen land. This system is rotten to its core; "democracy" is but a cheap coat of shellac, it looks glossy and nice but when you flip it over you see its underbelly is mere rancid innards. Those of us in prisons across the U.S. understand the dialectics with this country's so-called democracy very well, we learn of its mechanics through our painful introduction to its injustice system. The flooding of drugs into our communities, little to no jobs or training and a capitalist culture that everywhere we look we see luxury items on billboards, movies, T.V., magazines, newspapers, on clothing, in art form and in our music. We are born and raised in the economically depressed neighborhoods where even walking to the corner store is a cat and mouse game with police, not knowing if today is the day we go to jail or worse. I have felt the boot, the stick and the mace more than a few times but the blow from the nightstick was my painful birth into a revolutionary! For I no longer continued to see this society we live in through cozy blinders but I seen the uncut reality that millions of people live under here and the horrors inflicted around the world by this country.
And those who can fight their way through this madness out in society as well as the 2+ million held in concentration camp like dungeons supermax gulags and endure the psychological torture and not only "stay strong," but go past that and learn the history of this country's vileness as well as the theoretical sciences that can change the political landscape and the relations we have today. Our revolutionary spirit can flourish in even the most draconian deprivation tanks—this is dialectical materialism! Marxism in action. Those of us in prisons need to manipulate our confinement to build revolutionary minds! We cannot sit around waiting for the state to help us understand how to struggle for liberation, we must find ways to teach ourselves and then teach others!
As the article says, "Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution." What this means is the power is the ruling class, the imperialists, and transforming the people is changing this bling bling society, the slave mentality, the heavy chain of religion, the self destruction that is planted in our minds as youth, the defeatism. All this needs to be shown to the people and not only telling them "that's wrong" but showing them why that's wrong thinking, and then showing them what a better, more revolutionary way of going about it is needed. Where does this culture come from? And who benefits more out of it? These questions need to be grappled with so the people can see the truth, the righteousness of where you're coming from and in this way you will transform the people so that revolution is possible.
In the article it speaks of, "For a revolution, there must be a revolutionary people among all sections of society but with its deepest base among those who catch hell every day under this system. " We have nothing to lose but our chains. But even here it takes transformation to grasp the true nature of our conditions. I have come to see over the years that this newspaper is an excellent educational, people building organizational tool within the prison system, with it dialogue has opened, seeds have been planted and lines have been sharpened on many fronts.
The thing about what I have been able to study of Bob Avakian is I not only see the chairman of the RCP in his writings but I see a genuine revolutionary. I remember reading his memoir From Ike to Mao and Beyond and I seen of all the people he struggled with over the years and many setbacks and targeting by the police as well as the feds, where many have fell off out of exhaustion, police harassment or incorrect political line, Avakian has remained firm in his struggle for the people, and this article that came out in issue 170, it said how Avakian has given his heart for these struggles and how he's studied and developed scientific theory for making revolution. But something this article does not say is that Avakian did not have to take the revolutionary road, the strenuous trek to struggle with the oppressed. Avakian grew up with a father who was a judge, he was going to premed school and could have easily stayed in school got the plush doctor job, the Corvette, the model wife and lived high up in the suburbs tucked away safely free from the "crime ridden" areas, street people and "criminal elements," basically the downtrodden and castoffs. But he chose to struggle with the people, those who grew up in dramatically different living conditions and so he was in turn harassed with the people, jailed with the people, and he continues with the people. So there are lots of contributions Avakian has made to the International movement—but this is what stood out to me as someone I should and have looked into more deeply.
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