Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

Lessons of the Revolution:
Resisting Repression—and Getting Stronger

Two key elements of the nationwide campaign to popularize communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and to bring forward new revolutionary fighters are being actively suppressed. Prison authorities at Pelican Bay State Prison in California and Menard prison in Illinois have banned Revolution newspaper. Prisoners in these hellholes who, in an outpouring of letters responding to this campaign have begun to profoundly impact the political terrain, are being deprived of this lifeline to the outside world. Now this week, the Harvard Crimson (the student newspaper at Harvard) refused to print an open letter, submitted as a paid advertisement, from Raymond Lotta to Roderick MacFarquhar. MacFarquhar is a leading academic historian and China scholar who has written a book full of misrepresentations, gross distortions and outright lies about China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)—giving "scholarly credibility" to the lie that communist revolution is a nightmare and failure. (See page 12.)

The reason for this refusal? Crimson President Peter Zhu has deemed the open letter "too controversial."

No movement for serious change—and certainly no revolutionary movement—has ever advanced without meeting the forces of repression and suppression. Sharp lines of demarcation must be drawn between what is in the interests of the people and what is an attack on the people, wrong and harmful. And new forces must be won to wage struggle to defeat these attempts to suppress the revolution.

Do prisoners—and those they are speaking to—have a right "…to wake up and shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rat race…" and to raise themselves up as conscious Emancipators of Humanity, as the message and call from the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) calls upon them to do? Do the students—and others drawn to hear Raymond Lotta—have a right to critically examine what they are being taught and to pursue the truth wherever it leads? Do they have a right to question and debate whether capitalism is the best of all possible systems or to look beyond it to revolutionary and communist solutions to the horrors which billions live every day on this earth?

Right now, these attacks on the rights of prisoners, students and many others to read about, to hear and debate these arguments and this vision must be turned back on those who perpetrate this censorship. These attacks must become, as Mao Tsetung said, rocks they have picked up to hurl and dropped on their own feet.

It is crucial to overturn the prison ban! And, as for shutting down this "controversy" at Harvard—we should stir up the controversy! And we must go out boldly to mobilize people to take up this struggle. And as we do so, call on them to engage with this communism and revolution and to build the movement for revolution. What is it that is being suppressed? Why? What is the real nature of this system—and the need and possibility to do away with it?

Meeting these attacks head-on takes on even greater importance and significance because they are key elements of the campaign around "The Revolution We Need…The Leadership We Have." Meeting and overturning these attempts to keep the revolution from reaching whole sections of people is integral and critical to advancing. Such action will contribute to breaking open the debate more broadly in society. It will contribute to putting communism and revolution before all. The leadership of Bob Avakian—and the work he is doing—will become more broadly known throughout society. And new forces will step forward, not only to resist these attacks, but to join the movement for revolution.

As the message and call says: "We mean what we say, and we will not back off or turn our backs on what we have started, on the people who need this revolution. We will keep coming back and digging in, to strengthen this movement for revolution, to build up the bases, spread the influence and organize the forces we need to make revolution. We will not be scared off, backed down or driven away." ("The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have," Revolution #170)

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