50 Years After Selma: Civil Rights Rollbacks, Mass Incarceration, Rampant Murder by Police... We Need an ACTUAL REVOLUTION!

March 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


USA, 1965—Black people in Selma, Alabama, viciously attacked by cops and the Klan for seeking the right to vote, beaten with baseball bats and billy clubs, tear gas, and whips; ... people murdered by brutalizing police, by racist vigilantes; ... “whites only” Jim Crow segregation still prevails across the South, and in the North—Black people crammed into crumbling ghettos; forced to attend overcrowded, underfunded inner city schools; arrested, beaten, and murdered by police; kept in the lowest-paying, most dangerous jobs, if they find work at all...

USA, 2015—a full half-century later—a New Jim Crow of criminalization and mass incarceration of Black and Latino men has led to more Black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850; soaring unemployment for Black people in cities across the entire country; public schools more segregated now—60 years since the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the hateful “separate but equal doctrine”—than they were in the late 1960s; Black men and youths murdered by police in every city of this country—choked to death on a sidewalk in New York; shot and killed walking down the street in Ferguson, Missouri, in a park in Cleveland, on a train in Oakland; racist vigilantes murdering Black youth in cold blood, being let free by courts at every level. And yes, increasingly, Black people denied the right to vote, supposedly the most “sacred” right of U.S. citizenship, at a rate seven times higher than that for white people.

We really do need a revolution.

The powerful, beautiful outpouring of protest against police brutality and murder by police that began in Ferguson last summer and soon blossomed coast to coast, rocked this country in a way it hadn’t been shaken since the 1960s and early ’70s. The current reality and long history of viciously enforced oppression of Black people was exposed to the world. Big questions—important, vital questions—have been confronted, debated, and investigated by tens of thousands of people. Why are so many Black and Latino people in prison? Why do the police continue to terrorize and murder Black youth? What is it going to take to finally put an end to this murderous horror show that has lasted for decades ... for centuries?

Different people and groups are developing different understandings of the problems confronting Black people in this society, and reaching different conclusions about the solution to these problems. Only one approach gets at the root of the problem. This American society—this system of capitalism-imperialism—cannot in fact be made “more just.” The brutal oppression of Black people that is an essential component of the “American way of life” cannot be overcome within this system.

1965: Police use dogs to attack civil rights marchers in Birmingham, Alabama.

1965: Police use dogs to attack civil rights marchers in Birmingham, Alabama.

2013: Police attack protest against cop murder of Kimani Gray in Brooklyn, NY.
2013: Police attack protest against cop murder of Kimani Gray in Brooklyn, NY.
AP photos

People need to face reality. Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party expressed an essential starting point in understanding the history and ongoing reality of this country: “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” (BAsics 1:1)

The problem we face cannot be solved within the framework of what Martin Luther King called for. Nor can the problem be solved with a new civil rights movement. No matter how radically anyone tries to interpret these visions, the result will lead to some form of what exists now. The “American Dream” has been a centuries-long nightmare for Black and other oppressed people. And in this capitalist society it is a dream of individually “making it”... on the backs of others, including others around the world; letting a few people in on this dream who have been excluded cannot change the ugly, odious essence of it.

The “promises of democracy” have in reality been built upon the slave driver’s whip, the lynch mob’s noose, the penitentiary’s work farms, the guns, chokeholds, billy clubs, and solitary confinement torture chambers of the police. Those “promises” are built on the genocide of Native Americans and theft of their land, invasions of every corner of the world, drones, torturers, sweatshops, and slums. Nobody should want any part of “making it” or being included in that kind of democracy.

Enslavement, lynch mob terror, and mass incarceration of Black people; genocide against Native Americans; theft of Mexico; ongoing and deeply embedded brutality and murder by police of Black and Latino people... these are not unfortunate aberrations from the way the system of capitalism-imperialism could be made to work—they are how it works; they are in every strand of its “DNA,” expressions of its exploitative, oppressive essence. That can’t be changed any more than lions can become vegetarians. The problem is the system of capitalism-imperialism that has the oppression of Black people embedded deep into every aspect of its functioning. This is why neither Martin Luther King’s dream nor a new civil rights movement--both of which at most would attempt to reform, rather than uproot and do away with capitalism--would deal with the horrors that people face.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.

Read the entire Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at revcom.us/rcp.

But revolution can—actual, all-the-way communist revolution that gets rid of this system root and branch, and moves on to fighting for a world free of all exploitation and oppression, everywhere; a world that most human beings would want to live in. Anything less, anything that falls short of that, will leave intact the machinery of oppression that has caused far too much pain and suffering already.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) provides the legal-political framework for a truly emancipatory future society, overthrowing and uprooting all oppression. This Constitution is not a utopia; it is based on four decades of work by Bob Avakian (BA), the chairman of our Party, in digging deeply and scientifically into the experience of previous revolutions, as well as other developments in human society. It is the application of BA’s new synthesis of communism to actually figuring out how a new revolutionary state power could transform this society in the direction of eliminating exploitation and overcoming all oppressive divisions between people... how it would do all that while, and as part of, supporting revolution all over the world and meeting the material and cultural needs of the people in a way that you could barely conceive of today... until you read this document!

Just to take one egregious and typical, but totally unnecessary, outrage of everyday life in capitalism: In a revolutionary society, the police forces of the old society that had brutalized and degraded Black and Latino youth, that functioned as an occupying army, that maimed and killed in the name of security—they will have been disbanded with the seizure of state power. And that’s just day one! New public security forces will be created. They will protect the victories of the revolution. They will ensure the safety and rights of the people, including the right to take responsibility for the direction of society. These new public security forces will help people resolve disputes and problems among themselves in non-antagonistic ways.

In relation to the oppression of Black people and other oppressed people, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America mandates, among other things:

In light of the egregious crimes, oppression and injustice perpetrated by the former ruling class and government of the United States of America against various minority nationalities, to give expression to the voluntary union and growing unity of the various peoples within the New Socialist Republic in North America, and to give the most powerful effect to the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution, discrimination against minority nationalities, in every sphere of society, including segregation in housing, education and other areas, shall be outlawed and prohibited, and concrete measures and steps shall be adopted and carried out, by the government at the central and other levels, to overcome the effects of discrimination and segregation, and the whole legacy of oppression, to which these peoples have been subjected.

This is not a pipe dream. This is the way the world could be. What stands between this and the system we live under now: AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION. We are serious. We fully understand that such a revolution would be full of sacrifice and difficulty. But the work has been done, again by BA, to map out how those who are fighting for revolution could get from where we are today to where, as things develop, you actually could mobilize millions for an all-out seizure of power, and how, if and as that came on the agenda, the forces of violent repression deployed by the exploiters could be defeated. All that is beyond the scope of what we can get into here, but the point is this: the essential framework exists in the “Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION,” and in “On the Possibility of Revolution.”

With the uprising in Ferguson, and everything that broke out after that across the country, people stood up in a way that they had not in decades. And because of that, the possibilities of revolution were opened up in a way that they had not been for a long, long time. There is no guarantee, but there is a chance that a revolution could develop out of the further unfolding of what erupted in Ferguson and beyond, along with the sharpening of other contradictions and conflicts in society and the world, and the work of the vanguard—the Revolutionary Communist Party.

If you want to fight and END oppression... if you are hungering for change... if you see that we need to go beyond programs rooted in the American dream, or fantasies of a leaderless “revolution” with no clear programs... then you need to check out and fight side by side with this Party.

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