Carl Dix Speaks to Columbia University Students, October 7

"I don’t want to keep making hashtags!"

by Carl Dix | October 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


This is a rush transcript of Carl Dix’s speech at the October 7 “Police Terror Must Stop WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON” event at Columbia University in New York City. Watch the video of the full event.


We’ve heard tonight about what happened to Nicholas Heyward Jr. at the hands of the police. We heard about what happened to Kayla Moore, Michelle Cusseaux, Tanisha Anderson, Melissa Williams. We’ve heard a number of horrors. I have been on tour promoting Rise Up October. In the course of this tour, I interacted with a number of family members of people murdered by the police. I want to mention a couple of them. I just came back from Waukegan, Illinois, being with LaToya and Alice Howell. Six months ago, they buried 17-year-old Justus Howell, the son and grandson of LaToya and Alice. He was shot in the back twice by police. Also on this tour I interacted with Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice. Eight months ago she buried her 12-year-old son, Tamir, gunned down by police. Also on tour I was accompanied for awhile by Mertilla Jones, who five-and-a-half years ago buried her seven-year-old granddaughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones. In none of these cases have any police been punished in any way.

These are not isolated incidents. It happens all the damn time. They amount to an unspeakable horror... an unspeakable horror that must be stopped. Now to get into what we must do to stop police terror, I want to start out with a quote from Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

All these horrors are completely unnecessary. Things don’t have to be this way. We should live in a world where those entrusted with public security would sooner lose their own lives than kill or maim an innocent person. It’s not just the way the police spread terror in Black and Latino communities. It’s also what was done to the native inhabitants of this land. This land was stolen from them. They were nearly wiped out. Those few who survived were put in concentration camps they call reservations. There is what is done to women in this society with its rape culture, with viewing women as sex objects, and with the interference of government authorities in the very private decisions around when and whether to have a child. There’s what’s done to our immigrant sisters and brothers, driven here by the devastation that the U.S. wreaks in their homelands and then arriving here to face persecution—deported by Obama in record numbers and insulted by fascist idiots like Donald Trump. And then there are the wars for empire—wars in which one million people were killed in Iraq in the past few decades and before that three million in Vietnam and before that in Korea.... I was in their military... when they told me I had to go to Vietnam to kill innocent people for them my answer was "Hell no, I ain’t goin’!" And then there’s also the way they’re devastating the environment of the planet we live on.

This is not we should have justice some far off day. Humanity CAN be emancipated. The way to do this is through revolution—thru getting RID of this system and bringing in a system that is based on freeing people from all that ugliness and developing whole new ways for people to relate to each other and to the whole world.

A lotta people tell me, “Carl, you’re crazy. You can’t make revolution. They’re too powerful.” But what’s crazy is going along with this system and expecting things to get better. And let me tell you about their power—I’ve seen it up close, and I’ve seen the very real potential to defeat that power.

We saw the possibility to end these horrors in the 1960s when Black people rose up against the savage oppression being brought down on them, sparking off broader resistance and rocking the whole system back on its heels. The potential to defeat their power was shown in Vietnam, where peasants who were inspired and organized defeated their big powerful army—and part of how they did that was by inspiring soldiers like me to rebel. Back then we wanted to question and change everything. We saw glimmers of a different morality, a whole different way people could relate to each other. We saw a glimpse back then of the beauty Bob Avakian is talking about.




by Bob Avakian, Chairman,
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Summer 2015

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But we didn’t make revolution in this country. In the major places where revolution was made, power was seized back by capitalist exploiters. People around the world and in this country have paid a heavy price in blood for this ever since. A lot of people got too beaten down and gave up. What we got was over 2 million people in prison. 40 percent of Black children are living in poverty. We got crack and AIDS and all the horrors that go with a “dream deferred.” But that’s where Bob Avakian comes in—he never gave up on the people and he never gave up on revolution. He went to work learning from the experience of revolution and from experience more broadly, and has developed a new synthesis of communism—an even more scientific understanding of the methods, goals, strategy and plan for making revolution and creating a new society. On the basis of this new synthesis, the party Avakian leads, the RCP, is building a movement for revolution.

So I’m challenging everyone here, especially you young people—get into this revolution, get into Bob Avakian and what he’s brought forward about how to make revolution. Get with the movement for revolution the RCP is building. Keep your sights aimed on emancipating all of humanity. You can get into Avakian by going to our website——or going to Revolution Books when it opens in its new location in Harlem ... but do get into him and get with the movement for revolution the RCP is building.

Don’t let people tell you we can’t do better than this... America is not eternal, we can do better than hope for itty-bitty changes in HOW they dog us. Don’t get sucked into framing what you’re trying to do in the language and terms of the system or limiting yourself to working within the channels this system puts out there. We’ve seen this movie before, and the result is the whole genocidal situation we face right now—and yes, I said genocide.

Now, coming from the need for and possibility of revolution, I understand that we have to mobilize everyone we can, wherever they’re coming from and however they see the problem and the solution, to fight this madness we face. We can’t let them beat people so far down that we could never rise up against the things they do to us. So what we need to do is to stop police terror.

We are at a crucial turning point. Authorities are desperate to suppress the inspiring protest movement that has grown over the past year, hitting people with mass arrests and heavy charges. Either they will get away with this and killings by police, and the exoneration of killer cops will not only continue but intensify. Or we will come into the streets in even greater numbers with much more determination, acting to stop police terror.

This is what RiseUpOctober is all about doing. It aims to change the terms of how people think about this and act on it, and to politically rock those who order and carry out this terror back on their heels. This will draw a sharp line in all of society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?? Everybody who agrees with the simple demand that POLICE MURDER AND TERROR MUST STOP should be there on October 24. Let’s make clear to the whole world, in our numbers and determination, that there are many, many people who refuse to tolerate these outrages, who will not be silent and complicit in the face of them. NOBODY with a beating heart and a functioning conscience should stand aside.

This will tell the whole world that you have not put our movement into a cage of begging, of lining up behind some savior or other, of passivity—but we are coming at this stronger than ever, we are refusing to tolerate this, we are sending a signal to everyone who wants to fight but can’t find the way, that this fight is getting stronger but it needs you... a signal to everyone who is sitting on the sidelines and wishing for better that the time for wishing and sympathy is over and the time for acting is now... a signal to everyone who hates this that your days of dominating and demonizing must end and will end...a signal to this system that there is a growing force of people in society who think this police murder, and the whole genocidal thing it’s the spear point of, is illegitimate, immoral and MUST STOP!!

Now what we gonna do on those days?

In the morning of October 22, we will gather in Times Square, and we will SAY THEIR NAMES. We’re gonna gather family members of people killed by police, together with prominent voices of conscience, artists, clergy, professional people, and we need to have some students up there too, saying the names of the men and women who have had their lives stolen by those who have sworn to protect. That is how we’re gonna kick off RiseUpOctober.

Then the afternoon of October 22, here in New York City, there’s going to be a demonstration here in New York, in Brooklyn, starting at Borough Hall, moving to Barclays Center, marking the 20th annual Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. And there will be similar marches around the country.

Friday, October 23 we are going to carry out a non-violent direct action. When I talked about this before I said that details will be upcoming. Well here’s a big detail. This action will focus on shutting down the butcher shop, concentration camp, debtor’s prison that is Rikers Island.

And together through the sheer strength of our numbers, shutting New York down. We will gather in Washington Square Park, march to Columbus Circle, right through the middle of Manhattan.

I applaud all the students have done in fighting for this program, but I have to tell you your work ain’t over. You have to devote the next two weeks of your lives to realizing this vision of a powerful outpouring of resistance in NYC for RiseUpOctober. We need you to be all over social media, not only struggling with everyone you know on this campus, but all your friends from high school, all your cousins, aunts & uncles, everyone you know on every other campus, spreading the word to be in NYC. We need you to donate money to make this happen and to raise money to make this happen.

Look, let me just end on a personal note. I have been working around the horror of police murder for decades. I have been putting together lists of names. I worked on this book Stolen Lives that Nicholas held up. We have a poster that has dozens of pictures of people killed by police. We started doing hashtags when we got into the computer age, but we started this before we were in the computer age. We do hashtags identifying the women and men who have been murdered by police.

I don’t want to keep making hashtags. I don’t.

I don’t want to keep adding names to lists of people killed by the police.

I don’t want to keep having new pictures to put onto those posters.

We got to end this, sisters and brothers!

Look, I’ve got an eight-year-old grandchild. I don’t want her to grow up and her generation be talking about how the police get away with murder and what we’re going to do about it.

We have to stop this. That’s our charge. And that’s what RiseUpOctober is going to be a big contribution towards. So what we need to do is that everybody here needs to do all that they can to make RiseUpOctober as powerful as it needs to be, and can be.

And then we’ve got to do more than that. That’s how important this is. We need to get to a place where when people talk about the history of horrific crimes that this system has inflicted on Black people and other oppressed people the way that Eve was talking about, they will really be talking about history that has been ended, not history that continues to echo and reverberate in the present.

We will be talking about it in a situation where humanity has emancipated itself.

Let’s contribute to making that happen, sisters and brothers. Rise Up October!


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