What Are Rebellions Against Injustice Good For?

May 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


First, are rebellions against injustice good? That’s a debate in itself. Some people say, “Rebellions just hurt the people doing them.” Please. Without resistance, without rebellion, people are just hammered into the ground. They are totally at the mercy of the powers-that-be. Think, in any particular rebellion against injustice, of where things were going before people straightened their backs! Without struggle, without defiance, without rebellion against oppression, there can be no progress. And there never has been. Those who say differently are distorting history.

Now a lot of people say rebellion against oppression is good, because it forces the powers-that-be to listen and to make concessions. And that’s true. Others add that it gives people a sense of their collective strength when they stand up together. People rebelling against injustice lets all of society know that there’s a big problem here, and that there are people demanding that their humanity be recognized. And those things are true, too, and they’re part of why rebellions aimed at injustice are in fact very good and should be upheld—even if and when they get a little “rough around the edges” sometimes and aren’t perfect.

But if that’s all the further we take it—well, it ain’t far enough. All those very good things on their own will not and cannot do away with the SYSTEM that gave rise to the need for rebellion in the first place. And if we don’t do that, then eventually things will go back to the oppressive way they were before people stood up. We need to actually overturn and get rid of this system, this capitalist-imperialist system, through revolution. We need to bring in a whole different economy based on meeting people’s needs and supporting revolution, and a whole different system of political power to back that up and go after every structure and vestige of oppression and discrimination. And we need a whole different revolutionary culture, too, promoting cooperation and a recognition of our shared humanity and a determination to overcome all forms of oppression. If we don’t do that—if we rest satisfied with rebelling against injustice and don’t go forward from that to make revolution—then we’ll be fighting the same things 50 years from now. And we can’t have that.

Besides, the revolution we’re talking about is not just a dream. Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has gone deeply and scientifically into why we need such a revolution... the strategy for how it could actually be made and won... and how you would actually build a new society that people would want to live in, aimed at human emancipation. Think about it—that’s huge! So if you are serious about emancipation, if you are serious about an actual revolution, then you need to get seriously into BA.

And that gets to the main thing that rebellions against injustice are good for. When people stand up, they change the way everyone looks at right and wrong, just and unjust, legitimate and illegitimate. Those who rise up themselves begin to see the possibility that things don’t have to stay this way. They begin to see the possibility that they can change things, fighting together, collectively, and reaching out to others as they do. They begin to question all kinds of things about the world and search for a way out and a way forward. They force the rulers to back up and maneuver, and sometimes to fight among themselves. That shows the weaknesses in their rule that these powers try to keep hidden, it opens up “the cracks in the wall,” and all that can encourage even more people to surge forward.

Revolutionaries can and must lead this struggle, this questioning, and this defiance to where it NEEDS to go—to a movement for an actual revolution. Revolutionaries can and must struggle, right in the thick of things and aim to speak to all of society, against every move and scheme and impulse to turn all that into just another way to slightly rearrange the current setup. And if they do, then rebellions against injustice, along with other things, can play an important part in preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard leadership for a real revolution.

The fight to uphold rebellion against injustice is an important one. It is sharply contended right now, and it should definitely be waged. At the same time, what we most fundamentally need is an actual revolution. So, again, if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into Bob Avakian and get with and get organized into the movement for revolution, with the Party that he leads as its leading core.



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"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13