Baltimore, Freddie Gray: The Stakes Are Still High

May 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


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BAsics in B’More


We need urgent funds for hundreds of copies of the book, BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, to be shipped to Baltimore, and to be subsidized for those who most need it but have scarce resources to afford the full price. There are reports of youth collecting money from friends and neighbors to get a copy, others of people working through the book. But this is just a glimpse of what is possible, and we need a lot more...

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The uprising in West Baltimore on April 27 drew a line in society. Everyone was called on, in one way or another, to choose sides. On one side: HUNDREDS OF YEARS of slavery, Jim Crow, and the New Jim Crow, enforced with the whip, the lynch mob, and today—murdering police. Barack Obama—for all his “reaching out”—called the youth who rose up “thugs” and refuses to back off of that or apologize. (See “Obama’s ‘Let Legal System Work’ = Let Murdering Police Walk.”)

On the other side are those who refuse to accept the dehumanization, brutalization, and epidemic of police murder of Black and Latino people.

Two days after the Baltimore uprising, something else remarkable happened. Hundreds and hundreds of people, mostly college students of all nationalities, marched through Baltimore demanding JUSTICE for Freddie Gray. Representatives of the system took a look at the equation. (See an interview with student activists.) They flashed back to the 1960s as part of that, when the uprisings of Black people were a core element of revolution being in the air—and made a call to take the very, very rare step of arresting six police who were involved in the brutal, sadistic murder of Freddie Gray.

On May 21, a grand jury essentially upheld the charges against those six police.

What Are the Stakes in How This All Develops?

Last week we wrote: “There are high stakes—very high stakes—in what happens next. High stakes for the powers-that-be themselves—the capitalist-imperialists—who sit atop a world of exploitation and oppression of every kind. These capitalist-imperialists rely on their police to enforce that order within this country, even as they rely on their armies to go all over the world to do the same. When the right of these police to run around like mad dogs in the communities of the oppressed comes under challenge, that is a big, risky problem for them. And when people not only protest but actively resist as they did on April 27 and in the days that followed, that challenge is bigger.”

And we emphasized: “But there are even higher stakes for the oppressed and those who hate oppression, and for the revolutionaries leading the fight against that oppression. High stakes in mobilizing people to fight through and win this battle... and far higher stakes in bringing to people the word that there IS a solution to this, that revolution is possible, and that emancipation from this madness can be achieved, and in organizing people to carry forward that revolution. Will this opening be seized to bring forward the work that Bob Avakian has done on this very question, and the leadership that he has provided? Will those who ARE stepping forward to this be organized in a way that can lead to an ACTUAL revolution? Will this be done in a way that enables people to go up against all the repression that will be brought down on them as they do so? And, in that context, will the struggle for justice be fought through in such a way that it is NOT derailed, but instead strikes real blows against the ability of the powers to keep on hammering down on people, and at the same time leads people further toward revolution and emancipation?”

As the days pass, these stakes have not dissipated, but remain high.

A section of people for whom this system has no future but jail or early death rose up, against great odds and real violence. This rebellion revealed the potential of the most oppressed to rise up against big odds, with courage. This rebellion transformed how everyone saw things: it made very clear the urgency of this injustice and that it must not and would not be tolerated. And it showed how, when this is done, there is potential to win active and important support from people who do not face that same hell, but can be won to sympathize.

A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION

Now, what revolutionaries do in this situation can play a big role in making revolution. The Party’s statement on its strategy talks about how this system gives rise to great suffering, and sometimes this leads to “sudden jolts and breakdowns in the ‘normal functioning’ of society, which compel many people to question and to resist what they usually accept. No one can say in advance exactly what will happen in these situations—how deep the crisis may go, in what ways and to what extent it might pose challenges to the system as a whole, and to what degree and in what ways it might call forth unrest and rebellion among people who are normally caught up in, or feel powerless to stand up against, what this system does.”

The RCP’s strategy statement goes on to say that in these kinds of situations, “many more people are searching for answers and open to considering radical change.” At just such times, leaps must be “made in building up the movement and the organized forces for revolution, creating in this way a stronger basis from which to work for further advances.”

But that is not all. There are ways in which jolts like this, as they develop and in combination with other things, including what revolutionaries do, can go further. The statement says that things “can come together in such a way that the system is shaken to its foundations...deep cracks appear and magnify within the ruling structures and institutions...the raw relations of oppression are more sharply exposed...conflicts among the powers-that-be deepen, and cannot be easily resolved, and it becomes much more difficult for them to hold things together under their control and keep people down. In this kind of situation, for great numbers of people, the ‘legitimacy’ of the current system, and the right and ability of the ruling powers to keep on ruling, can be called seriously and directly into question, with millions hungering for a radical change that only a revolution can bring about.”

A letter from a reader, which emphasized the centrality of getting the word out on BA and the revolution he has envisioned and been giving leadership to, also made this point:

The revolutionaries must also lead the masses to continue to fight the power, including leading them through all the twists and turns, major developments, and heavy repression, slanders, and diversions thrown at the struggle by this system and its enforcers, mouthpieces, defenders and apologists. And, in fact, the masses must be led to understand the scope and scale of the outrages that they are rising up against—the fact that there is a national, decades-long, and unrelenting epidemic of police brutality and police murder, and that they are not isolated in being outraged by and fighting against this epidemic of police murder and brutality, as the system and its mouthpieces constantly try to make them think and feel that they are. This is one of many reasons that broadly getting out the posters and banners from with the faces and names of victims of police brutality and murder has been, is, and will continue to be so important, as is continuing to fight to broaden and deepen the struggle against police brutality, murder and mass incarceration, bringing forward and leading people broadly, from many different sections of society, to take up this fight.

All this must be built upon, urgently, and with leaps. There is no room for hitting the pause button. And what happens in Baltimore cannot stay in Baltimore. It must be taken up all over society. Word of revolution needs to get out all over, and resistance must spread to every city.




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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

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a younger generation revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.

Special Issue

People need the truth about the communist revolution. The REAL truth. At a time when people are rising up in many places all over the world and seeking out ways forward, THIS alternative is ruled out of order. At a time when even more people are agonizing over and raising big questions about the future, THIS alternative is constantly slandered and maligned and lied about, while those who defend it are given no space to reply.

Contains Interview with Raymond Lotta, Timeline of The REAL History of Communist Revolution, and more...